SEIU Local 1021 members rejected the port’s offer in April by a vote of 170-3 — and who could blame them? In their last contract, which expired in June 2011, union workers had already accepted a raft of cost-cutting measures.
The introduction of a pension payment and the loss of cost-of-living increases would amount to a 10 percent cut in real take-home income. That’s a serious chunk of change for a maintenance worker at the port making a tad over $50,000 a year.
In June, port officials declared an impasse in negotiations and initiated a fact-finding arbitration process. The arbitration is nonbinding, but it clears a path for the agency to make a final offer to the union. Union officials could reject it and vote to authorize a strike.