Fixing LA and Remaking Public Sector Bargaining
Posted in Publications
On July 13, 2016, the Kalmanovitz Initiative released Fixing Los Angeles and Remaking Public Sector Collective Bargaining: A Case Study of “Bargaining for the Common Good (new window). This report, prepared with the support of labor and community leaders in Los Angeles, chronicles the successful 2014-2016 Fix LA campaign that achieved great gains for over 20,000 public sector workers and the L.A. community.
Between 2008 and 2014 the City of Los Angeles, like most large municipalities in the United States, embarked upon a series of deep and sustained budgetary cuts, greatly affecting the quality of frontline public services. Through incentivized early retirements and attrition the City’s workforce was reduced by close to 5,000, placing an unmanageable workload upon many of those that remained.
In 2014 the Fix LA Coalition was formed in response to the severe dereliction of public services and urban communities. This new alignment included labor unions, most notably SEIU Local 721 and AFSCME Council 36, a range of different community organizations, and leading religious figures. Using the City’s 2015 collective bargaining agreement with the Coalition of L.A. City Unions as its focal point, the Fix LA Coalition advanced a series of non-mandated demands that went beyond the interests of union members and represented a “Common Good” agenda.
After over a year of collaborative campaigning on both highly localized as well as citywide issues, the labor-community coalition was able to achieve a collective bargaining agreement that went far beyond the expectations that had beset many at the start of the campaign. They were able to rebut the nearly forty concessions that management had proposed at the start of bargaining, secure a commitment to the restoration of 5,000 full-time public sectors jobs with an emphasis on the local hiring of persons who typically face the greatest obstacles to securing employment, and the establishment of a Mayoral Commission on Revenue Generation to provide recommendations for bolstering the City’s finances and changing its relationship to Wall Street firms.