Does Newsom show more love to managers than workers?
photos and text by Sarah Phelan
SEIU Local 1021’s Robert Haaland says the City has a pattern of hiring way more managers than front line workers over the last decade.
“Over the last ten years, the City has hired managers to front line workers at a rate of ten to one, “says Robert Haaland, SEIU Local 1021’s political coordinator. “That means 1,000 managers to 100 front line workers. And fifty percent of these new management hires have occurred within the Newsom administration.
Haaland makes his argument using an analysis of full-time equivalent positions that the City has budgeted and funded over the last ten years, broken down. by union.
SEIU requested this analysis through the office of Board President Sup. Aaron Peskin.
These figures, Haaland observes, show that SEIU gained 113 new positions over the last decade, the Municipal Executives Association gained 334 positions, and Local 21, which represents professional and technical engineers, gained 781 positions.
“We’re not going after Local 21, or any union,” Haaland says. “We’re going after the City’s hiring practices, in which their priority is to hire executives and managers.”
Haaland’s explosive claims come as the City is going through one of the most painful budget hearings in memory, in an effort to reconcile a $338 million projected deficit--a deficit that Newsom's critics claim has been predominantly balanced on the backs of the poor.
Monique Zmuda, Deputy City Controller, confirmed that there are 53.95 FTE MEA positions budgeted for 2008-09, with many occurring in the Municipal Transportation Agency and at the airport.
“The Muncipal Executives Assocation is sort of the top management level of the City,” Zmuda told the Guardian.
She noted that when the Mayor recently talked about deleting management positions, “He was not talking about the unions, he was talking about managers generically.”
“We also have managers who are attorneys, police, firefighters and physicians, and of we are looking at hiring increases over time, most are in police, nurses and sheriffs," she said.
Says Haaland, “We’re not haggling over positions, we’re haggling over an institutional priority in every City department of hiring managers over workers.”
And people wonder why the real Newsom looked stressed at his June 2 budget announcement at the Shipyard.