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Statement From City Manager Bill Workman: Status of Labor Relations and Complaints Against the City Manager

MEMORANDUM

DATE: Jan. 14, 2014
TO: Mayor & Council Members
FROM: Bill Workman, City Manager
SUBJECT: Status of Labor Relations and Complaints Against the City Manager

The City of Redondo Beach maintains a healthy and safe workplace for its employees. Our employees are provided with the appropriate tools, training, equipment, vehicles, goals and leadership to do their jobs in serving the community.

The City Council has done an excellent job making financial and policy decisions to create an enviable quality of life for residents. We are a high achieving organization delivering quality services to the citizenry everyday with integrity and ethics. Our organization is led by a terrific set of department heads working together as a management team. Redondo Beach is recognized as one of the best managed cities in Los Angeles County.

Together, the City Council and your labor relations negotiation team have been actively involved for many months seeking wage and benefit agreements with the City's five individual employee bargaining units. Each of the bargaining units rejected the 3% compensation Last-Best-Final offers. The wage demands to the City Council from employee bargaining units have ranged from 6-12% which far exceed our ability to pay considering our modest General Fund ongoing revenue base.

Let me make it clear that I respect the rights of unions to bargain for improvements to wages, benefits and pensions. I still have my original Retail Clerks Union 1428 union membership card in my drawer at home.

Collective bargaining with municipal employee unions is conducted under the California employer-employee relations law known as the Myers-Milias-Brown Act. The law requires public employers and public employee organizations to meet and confer in good faith as the method to resolve labor disputes. Assistant City Manager Pete Grant and I are designated as City bargaining representatives.

The repeated attacks on me in recent months have been harassing, hostile and in retaliation for my work as one of your designated labor relations representative—and—for carrying out the fiduciary duties mandated upon me as your city manager. 

Under the guise of public employee speech privileges, some labor unions zealots have made an assortment of false assertions about me in an attempt to vandalize my professional reputation. This is a tactic to discredit your labor negotiators and circumvent California's labor relations law. Not protected by public employee free speech privileges are harassing, hostile and retaliatory attacks made by any City employee.

Let me emphasize retaliatory. The City Council was informed by me that on July 29, 2013 attorney Stewart Adams representing the Fire Fighters Union and CORE directly stated to me that if I did not agree the compensation demands of the City's public employee unions, they would personally attack me and that my health would suffer.

This was an unequivocal intimidation and threat by the unions. I told Adams I work for the City Council; received detailed negotiation directions from the Council for me to carry out; and, that the Council compensation offers were based on the fiscally sound principles adopted by the Council to maintain a balanced budget.

Here we are today. It inconceivable that I am defending myself from these hostile attacks planned, organized and executed by public employee unions making good on their promise of revenge. We have a healthy workplace for employees and we intend to keep it that way.

Instructed to those employees engaged hostile activities and to improve the current state of affairs:

1. Cease and desist in hostile workplace actions against me and the individuals composing our department head management team.
2. Conform to the processes for labor relations under California's Myers-Milias-Brown Act.
3. Use the grievance process in their MOUs or Administrative Policy 10.34 for consideration of their specific complaints.

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