In Walnut Creek, Teamsters 856 represents many of the individuals who work hard to keep the community safe — police services officers, police records technicians, and dispatchers. Police dispatchers, for example, take both the emergency and non-emergency calls that come in from the public and make sure a police officer is notified and responds to the situation.
Recently, the Walnut Creek Teamsters ratified their new union contract with the city. The new agreement provides members with wage increases, and also adds new benefits that are more in line with the value of the service the members provide the community.
“We have groups that we wanted to make sure were paid for the training they provide and other positions we wanted to ensure were fairly compensated,” said Alicia Williams, a police dispatcher, shop steward, and member of the negotiations team.
Under the new agreement, the retirement health savings cap was removed, members who work the graveyard shift will be compensated with a pay differential, police services officers will receive pay for the hours of training they provide new employees, and members will receive overtime compensation for the hours they work in court. In addition, two new committees were formed: one to update the records technician training program and another to explore the creation of a new special assignment classification for police services officers.
“This contract was a collaborative effort by the entire membership,” said Veronica Diaz, the Teamsters 856 representative who led negotiations. “With the help of members who submitted proposal ideas and a strong negotiations team, we were able to secure a contract of which we can all be proud.”
“For my team, finally getting field training pay was a big deal,” said shop steward and negotiations team member, Juan Maldonado. He and his police services officer colleagues will now receive pay for providing training. “When the city hires new people, we spend about four to six weeks getting them trained and ready to go into the streets. Before this new contract, we weren’t compensated for that work.”
Alicia, who has been with the City of Walnut Creek for about 14 years, is particularly happy about the committee that will look into creating a new police services officer classification.
“We have members who have taken on more responsibility and by doing so lightened the load of our police officers, and it’s time for that additional work to be recognized,” she said. “We have a chance now to make sure they know their additional work has value and they are appreciated.”
The negotiations team is also proud they were able to secure a contract for their co-workers that has no takeaways in wages or benefits. “Our team is happy and morale is high,” said Juan. “Any time we have wage increases, nothing more is coming out of our paycheck, and we have new benefits, we’re winning.”