Ninety-nine percent of the hundreds of city workers who voted — at Berkeley City Hall on June 6 — authorized their bargaining team to call a strike. A strike date is not set. Workers are ready to walk off the job if the city does not meet workers demands for improved safety and fair contract. Contract talks between Berkeley’s maintenance and clerical employees–including sanitation workers, mechanics, and clerical staff—and City administrators have failed.
“Our jobs are one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the nation. City administrators are ignoring our plea for improved safety on the job. We don’t want another person to suffer another death because of deteriorating working conditions,” said Danny Walker, a Solid Waste Truck Driver and President of the Maintenance Chapter of SEIU 1021.
City workers have filed charges against Berkeley managers alleging intimidation of workers, unlawful surveillance, and interference with employees’ protected right to protest.
In addition to the unfair labor practices committed by City administrators, Berkeley workers’ calls for safer working conditions remain unanswered. Following the 2016 death of Johnny Tolliver, a Zero Waste Truck Driver, workers responsible for difficult, dangerous, and dirty work maintaining city streets and facilities want stronger safety protections. The City of Berkeley has been fined by Cal OSHA nearly $100,000 for the accident and the conditions surrounding the accident.
City workers have proof that Berkeley managers have intimidated workers, engaged in unlawful surveillance and interfered with the right to protest said Rebecca Webb, a customer service representative working in the 311 call center and a member of SEIU Local 1021.
Webb said workers had to vote for this authorization during their lunch break and that many felt pressure from management not to vote.
“We’ve been receiving Trump-like intimidation tactics from management, even just to vote for this authorization,” Webb said.