.Strike Averted for Santa Cruz City Workers

City and union reach an agreement on Sunday

A strike that could have slowed or crippled services in the City of Santa Cruz was averted Sunday as the city reached an agreement with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 521.  

Under the agreement, workers will get a 12% raise over the next three years, in addition to a one-time $1,1,00 payment, City Manager Matt Huffaker announced in a press release.

The news came two days after the city announced that the Union had rejected an offer for a 12% increase over three years–without the $1,100 payment–and that a strike was imminent. 

SEIU 521 President Ken Bare said Friday that the first offer did not cover the rising cost of living. 

Bare also said that the current pay does not attract new employees—the city is still 48 workers short.

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The tentative agreement, he said, will address that shortage and improve city services.

“The City of Santa Cruz will finally be able to hire qualified employees that it needs in order to provide services to the city,” he said.

The city reached similar agreements for 12% increases over three years with four other City employee groups approved by the City Council last week. 

 Negotiations have been ongoing since early this year, Huffaker said.

“We are pleased to be able to structure a compensation package that better meets our employee’s short-term needs while also being respectful of the city’s long-term financial picture,” he said.

Because the strike–expected to begin at 7am Monday–has been called off, city operations will be delivered, as usual, Huffaker added.

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