The 450 workers in the 13 unions that comprise the Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition have authorized a strike if a new agreement cannot be reached. The ferry deckhands and captains; bus servicers and mechanics; bridge ironworkers and inspectors; and construction tradesmen and women have been working without a contract since July 1.
While the workers who operate the bridge, buses and ferries in San Francisco Bay have authorized a strike, the Labor Coalition continues to bargain in good faith, and no strike date has been set.
The Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, employers of some 450 workers, proposed a three-year contract that would increase the cost of employees’ health care premiums, negating a minimal wage increase.
During the recession, employees agreed to lower wages and no raises in response to the district’s financial concerns. Tolls have increased 20 percent; toll takers were laid off; and coalition concessions led to large reserves and increases in management’s salaries while the workers have fallen 12 percent behind the Bay Area cost of living,
Alex Tonisson, co-chair of the coalition, said:
There is still time to turn this around. The public can make its voice heard that no one-not commuters, not the district and certainly not the workers-wants a strike. It is a last resort, but we are prepared to do that.
The Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition includes the following unions: International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 21, the Inlandboatmen’s Union-ILWU (IBU-ILWU), Teamsters locals 665 and 856, Machinists (IAM) Local 1414, Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA) (Captains), Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 6, Laborers (LIUNA), Operating Engineers (IUOE), Plumbers and Pipe Fitters (UA), Carpenters and Plasterers and Cement Masons (OPCMIA).
The above article is reprinted from the AFL-CIO Now Blog. Photo: AFL-CIO Now Blog