In one of his last actions before leaving office, former Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield proposed a new “Clean Water Authority” that could potentially have outsourced over 250 jobs. Privatization would have cost loyal employees jobs, wages, and other benefits that they have earned.
Thanks to the political work SEIU did in the spring as well as direct actions in the workplace and at City Hall, the Union was able to work with the newly-elected City Council and new Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke to scrap the Clean Water Authority.
“This thing was on a fast track and was supposed to be a ‘done deal’, but our union was able to shut it all down,” says Devin Cotton, the union steward at the Moccasin Bend facility, which would have been ground zero for privatization. “Our water is a precious resource and so are our public employees—it’s good for Chattanooga that SEIU was able to get this stopped. We stood together, and it paid off.”
Read more about this story @ the Chattanooga Times Free Press or WRCB-TV 3.
Two terminations were overturned and employees sent back to work and two terminations were reduced to suspensions thanks to effective union representation at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis.
SEIU aggressively advocated for a market analysis of dental assistants and a comparison to Meharry staff. As a result, all bargaining unit employees were given a significant increase.
An SEIU member, with assistance from the Local, won over $8,ooo for working out-of-class at the Nashville Public Library.
The member, who wished to remain anonymous, thanked SEIU representatives for ensuring that public employees are paid appropriately for the work they do in delivering quality services.
Some of the SEIU members who rallied at the Metro Courthouse in support of a new budget proposal that puts workers first.
After a sustained campaign by SEIU members in Nashville, the Metro Council passed an operating budget for 2014 that gives city employees an across-the-board pay increase of 1.5% plus the return of step raises (also called “increments”).
Step raises, which are mandated in the Metro charter and the city’s pay plan, have been frozen for the last five years and has put many employees behind financially as well as having an impact on promotions and retirement calculations. SEIU has been campaigning for increments and an across-the-board raise for months at the Civil Service Commission, the Metro Council, and the Mayor’s office. Members have contacted council members on the issue and have spoken publicly in support of improvements. And on May 21, dozens of SEIU members from different departments joined with firefighters and police officers at a Rally on the Courthouse steps to support a modified budget proposal from the Mayor.
After the employee Rally, SEIU members went inside to lobby their council members and attend the Public Hearing on the budget. The Local’s president, Doug Collier, spoke at the Hearing in support of the modified proposal being considered by the Council as a great first step, but that it be part of a larger discussion about how to improve pay, benefits, for city employees and services to the public. Social worker and SEIU member Russ Anthony spoke with WKRN News 2 about the new budget proposal and the way forward for Metro employees.
Our thanks go out to all our members who attended the Rally and Public Hearing and to the members who were not able to attend but have contacted their elected officials on the issue. “This new budget proposal would not have happened without the hard work done by SEIU members and our allies,” Collier said.