Santa Cruz city workers reach tentative agreement, end first strike in city history

Santa Cruz city workers picketing outside the Graham Hill Road water treatment facility Wednesday.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The first strike in Santa Cruz city history came to an end Wednesday night, with the SEIU-represented city workers reaching a tentative agreement with the City of Santa Cruz. They will vote to ratify the agreement on Friday.

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Anyone with trash piling up in Santa Cruz can breathe a sigh of relief.

Striking Santa Cruz city workers represented by Service Employees International Union Local 521 (SEIU 521) reached a tentative agreement with the city Wednesday night, ending a three-day work stoppage — the first strike in Santa Cruz city history.

The new agreement improves upon the rejected one in a couple of ways:

  • All city workers will receive a one-time payment of $1,800, up from $1,100 offered in the previously rejected tentative agreement.
  • Some positions below what is considered market rate will receive salary adjustment payments.

Workers will hold a ratification vote Friday, after which more specifics will be available, union sources said.

Per the City of Santa Cruz, city residents can expect the following, effective Thursday:

  • Residential and commercial trash pickup to resume on the next regularly scheduled pickup day;
  • library facilities to be open for regular hours;
  • the landfill to reopen.

The union confirmed that all striking employees have returned to work.

In a statement, SEIU 521 Chapter President Ken Bare said he believes the agreement will start to address the union’s demands, and expressed gratitude to the community for its support.

“The support from our community was incredible. Santa Cruz city workers were strong and resilient, and their strike was historic,” he said. “We will finally get the respect and dignity we fought for and deserve.”

In a statement, City Manager Matt Huffaker said that he is pleased with the agreement.

“I want to thank the negotiating teams, and look forward to having all of our employees back to work today,” he said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.


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