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San Diego city workers receive historic raises thanks to AFSCME Local 127 members

Photo Credit: Getty Images
San Diego city workers receive historic raises thanks to AFSCME Local 127 members
By Daisha Benjamin, AFSCME District Council 36 ·
San Diego city workers receive historic raises thanks to AFSCME Local 127 members
Local 127 members vote on their new contract. Photo Credit: District Council 36

SAN DIEGO – Members of AFSCME Local 127 (District Council 36) have ratified a historic three-year contract with the City of San Diego, making it one of the biggest union contracts in California history.

The contract was ratified this month, with 99% of voting members ratifying the tentative agreement.

Negotiators worked over seven months to reach an agreement that invests in city employees and addresses long-standing issues that were important to workers.

“In my history of working for the City of San Diego for more than 27 years, I have never heard of or seen such a large contract being given to the hard working, dedicated employees,” said AFSCME Local 127 President Tim Douglass. “This contract is a start in the right direction for the employees.”

The contract includes a 21% raise over three years. It also includes a 6%-10% salary adjustment that will benefit more than 1,200 members in the bargaining unit. Additionally, members will receive a 15% increase in flexible benefits over three years. The contract also addresses outsourcing by narrowing the scope for which the practice is allowed and requiring more accountability before and during outsourcing.

For years, the city struggled with recruiting and retaining workers largely due to sub-par wages. San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria recognized the positive effect that this contract will have on the city.

“This agreement is another step to reverse years of underinvestment in our employees that resulted in unfilled positions and delayed or diminished services for our residents. Fair and competitive pay will ensure we have the workers to provide the level of service San Diegans expect and deserve,” said Gloria.

As a result of these hard-won pay increases, the 23% vacancy rate among classifications represented by Local 127 will finally be addressed. That will be a huge weight lifted off workers who have had to bear the extra workload.

In addition to ratifying the contract, Local 127 members signed up 70 new members, which will help them continue to build power for an even better future.

AFSCME’s Staff the Front Lines initiative is a nationwide effort to increase staffing in public service jobs. Job cuts during the COVID-19 pandemic and hiring freezes slashed the public service workforce. Today, the public services are still hundreds of thousands of jobs short from pre-pandemic levels. States, cities, and towns are not hiring fast enough to fill the lost jobs, which is putting a strain on the everyday heroes who keep our communities running.

As part of this effort, AFSCME members are organizing together to recruit qualified and passionate professionals to work in public service and to make sure that lawmakers adequately invest in our essential workers.

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