City of Santa Cruz and workers reach tentative deal to avoid strike; services to go on uninterrupted

Santa Cruz SEIU Chief Elected Officer Riko Mendez speaks at a union news
Santa Cruz SEIU Chief Elected Officer Riko Mendez speaks at a union news conference last month outside City Hall.
(Max Chun / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The City of Santa Cruz and workers represented by labor union SEIU Local 521 reached a tentative agreement Sunday afternoon, averting a strike set to begin Monday at 7 a.m. SEIU members will vote to ratify the deal this week.

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The City of Santa Cruz and Service Employees International Union Local 521 (SEIU 521) 一 the labor union representing nearly 600 city workers in departments such as roads and maintenance, sanitation, public safety and more 一 reached a tentative agreement Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours before SEIU-represented workers intended to strike. All city services will be performed as usual without interruption, the union and the city say.

Per the City of Santa Cruz, the agreement includes a 12% ongoing compensation increase over the next three years, a one-time $1,100 payment for each employee, and a commitment to not implement furloughs during the contract duration. The city also said the agreement “helps to ensure that all SEIU employees earn a living wage.”

The city’s previous offer did not include the $1,100 payment, nor did it include furlough protections, the union confirmed.

Representatives of both sides expressed satisfaction with the agreement.

“We are pleased to be able to structure a compensation package that better meets our employees’ short-term needs, while also being respectful of the city’s long-term financial picture,” Santa Cruz City Manager Matt Huffaker said in a news release.

“This agreement allows us to begin to rebuild the long-standing partnership between management and our workforce to ensure the City of Santa Cruz is a better place to live and work,” said Santa Cruz SEIU chapter president Ken Bare in an SEIU release.

SEIU members will vote on ratifying the agreement this week.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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