Saturday, November 18 , 2017, 9:33 pm | Fair 47º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Goleta Negotiating with Employee Groups after City Workers Join SEIU Local 620

For the first time ever, the City of Goleta is engaged in labor negotiations with a public-employee union.

In its 12-year history, none of Goleta’s roughly 55 employees has been represented by a bargaining unit — but that changed last fall.

Months of back-and-forth resulted in an Employer-Employee Relations Resolution approved by the City Council on Oct. 15. It establishes procedures for bargaining and was crafted with input by city employees, although some of them wanted more collaboration before a final form was approved, Goleta employee Maureen Gaasch said during that meeting's public comment. 

If the council didn’t adopt a resolution, Goleta would still be bound by the statewide regulations of the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act. By adopting the document, the city has more tailored rules that still comply with the Public Employment Relations Board guidelines.

About 70 percent of employees initially submitted membership applications to the SEIU Local 620, which already represents thousands of employees within Santa Barbara County, according to the SEIU.

“We had the majority of folks who are 100-percent behind this,” said Bruce Corsaw, executive director of the Service Employees International Union Local 620.

“It’s a good thing,” he said. “It’s good to be represented and work together with the employer, and that’s our goal.”

Membership is a “moving target” but 40-45 of employees are now represented in the SEIU Local 620 miscellaneous and general units, Corsaw said. Management staff and confidential employees are unrepresented at this point.

Goleta is now conducting confidential negotiations with the SEIU, interim City Manager Michelle Greene said.

Neither side knows how long negotiations will take, since it’s the first attempt at a contract.

“There’s a learning curve on both sides,” Corsaw said. “We need to learn how the city does something and they need to learn how labor does certain things.”

Employees are currently offered health benefits, retirement benefits through the California Public Employees Retirement System, life insurance, vacation and sick leave.

According to the city’s two-year budget plan, Goleta has 53 full-time employees and four part-time employees. Goleta currently receives fire services from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and contracts out for a variety of other services, such as park maintenance work.

Instead of creating an independent police department, Goleta contracts with the Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement. That yearly contract will cost $7.9 million of the city’s $21 million budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year that started July 1.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >