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The SEIU View


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

In response to Mrs. Wiscomb’s comment, “It was union influence that got the city into financial difficulty,” it’s interesting that Mrs. Wiscomb had interviewed for endorsement consideration with SEIU Local 620, though she does not mention that fact, as did Frank Hotchkiss. Neither were approved by the group. It is likely they interviewed with other labor groups as well.

It’s time the public is given the perspective of the working class people. General employees for the City of Santa Barbara earn an average pay of $47,700 per year. They pay their maximum allowed by law into their retirement. They pay $664.00 per month for their family medical insurance, soon to go up another $200.00 per month in 2014. This is more than a week’s wage for the workers. The workers have NOT had a raise in FOUR YEARS; in three of the four years, their pay was reduced a total of 14.5 percent. The workers earn the same pay they were receiving four years ago, though they take home less because of severe increases to their medical coverage cost and retirement contribution. At an average of $47,700 per year, these workers are NOT going to retire wealthy.

Frank Hotchkiss is running in a campaign platform stating that he is responsible for reducing the pay of the employees. Mr. Hotchkiss gives NO recognition to the over 800 City employees who gave up 14.5 percent of their pay.

As a point of order, it takes at least four votes on the City Council for anything to be approved. Mr. Hotchkiss cannot take any more credit for this than anyone else who was part of the process. Mr. Hotchkiss is proud of the fact people are working harder, and doing with less, though he gives NO recognition to the workers who are actually doing the work. Mr. Hotchkiss gives NO recognition to the labor unions, who in good faith bargained the furlough pay for their workers to help the City.

Business owners in the City of Santa Barbara should be appalled that the Council has repressed the city workers’ pay. They are hurting their own economy. The City is the largest employer in the city. The restaurant business is big in the City of Santa Barbara. When workers don’t have money, they bring their lunch to work. With no disposable income, people don’t go shopping. The citizens have had two rate hikes on their utility bills, while the workers have not had a raise. Yes, Mr. Hotchkiss was a part of this as well.

SEIU does not negotiate the pay for the $100,000 club, which the News-Press writes about. What the News-Press is not telling the citizens, from the City Council down to the workers, is that there are five levels of management who run the city. In some divisions there are six levels of management. Yes five to six levels of management, for the grass to be cut at the parks, for the harbor maintenance, for the person to take your money at the parking garage. On and on it goes. All these managers make $100,000+ per year. They are not represented by any labor union. Though the News-Press would have you believe SEIU Local 620 represents all city workers, only the highest profitable companies have this many levels of management. Mrs. Wiscomb mentions nothing about the multi levels of management, and all their high pay, and retirement.

To Mrs. Wiscomb, and everyone else: What is the problem with city workers supporting those running for Council and Mayor? We are residents and registered voters too.

The workers want qualified, quality people to run the city, a Council that is good for the business community, good for the environment, good for the citizens, and good for city business. Yes, we work here, live here, and we care who is running the government. We are proud of the politicians we are endorsing: Helene Schneider, Bendy White, Gregg Hart, and Megan Diaz Alley.

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