By Steven Tavares.
Months after a state Public Employment Relations Board found the city of Hayward’s five percent wage imposition two years ago on 300 city workers was illegal, the city is quietly appealing its findings.
Hayward City Manager Fran David, though, did not use the word “appeal” to characterize the move, but labeled the filing last month as an exemption. The procedural move allows the city to continue to discuss its option, said David, and to continue ongoing negotiations with representatives of the Service Employees International Union, Local 1021. “The city and SEIU are still talking,” she added.
Last week, a representative from SEIU Local 1021 was critical of the city for making the decision to appeal without much fanfare. Weeks after the Hayward City Council finally approved the decision to appeal, the city had made no official mention of the action.
Discussion over appealing the PERB ruling has been listed as a closed session item for months without a determination by the current City Council. During the same time, SEIU members have routinely voiced opposition to the city appealing the PERB decision, saying the cost to taxpayers and time could be better used toward mending relations between city management and public employees.
The report issued last December by the Public Employment Relation Board found Hayward city leaders illegally imposed the unilateral five percent wage cut without engaging in good-faith negotiations with the union. It also ordered the city to pay back city workers.
The report also detailed instances where city department heads pressured city workers to vote for management’s offer, in addition, to describing one scene when the city’s police chief was shooting video of union members inside the council chambers and outside City Hall during a rally.
Meanwhile, some members of the Hayward City Council, up for re-election this June, told the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee Wednesday that negotiations between city management and SEIU were going reasonably well.
However, one member of the central committee with knowledge of the negotiations strongly disagreed with the councilmember’s description, saying the current offer made by the city will not make workers whole and still amounts to a pay cut.
Furthermore, there is no timetable for a resolution and waiting for the Public Employment Relations Board to make a final decision on the city’s appeal could take years. Both sides acknowledge it could take between 1-3 years before the item is actually heard by the state board.