Pledged "Tripling" of San Diego Street Crews Meets Union's Cautious Optimism

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced a plan for the City to dramatically increase its street services program following an unusually wet winter and damages caused by the heavy rains. But not everyone -- particularly the City's long beleaguered street repair workforce represented by AFSCME Local 127 -- are quite ready to applaud the news.

“We’ve heard San Diegans loud and clear and we’re making this a top priority," Mayior Faulconer announced in a press release issued last month. "That means more crews in every neighborhood filling more potholes than ever before.”

The problem is, the workers currently assigned to street repairs have been working harder and faster on extended shifts without extra pay -- and are a bit skeptical of the City's hiring promises at this point.  They are hopeful for relief at the same time they will be watching the hiring process closely, they say.  

Another concern of the workers is that the City historically has relied on unaccountable private contractors to do street repairs, rather than permanently staff up to meet the City's servicing needs.  In some cases, the City has actually violated the terms of its contract with the Local, which requires the City to notify the union whenever it contracts out bargaining unit work. The City has been lax in enforcing these transparency requirements, however, so the union has had to file grievances to try and force the City's compliance. 

The Local, meanwhile, says it will continue to advocate for adequate street crew staffing -- and fair wages for the work performed -- and intends to hold the Mayor accountable to his word.

Photo Credit: Official City of San Diego website