AFSCME 444 wins Work-out-of-Class arbitration. Arbitrator finds that it is indeed work-out-of-class when an employee must preform the duties of a higher classification required for the task; not as the bosses contend, that an employee must preform all of the duties of the higher classification.

You can read the full text of the Arbitrator's ruling here


AFSCME Local 444 passes an Environmental Resolution at the 42nd International Convension

The Risks of Climate Change

Local 444's newletter The Mainline can be downloaded here


The Mainline for Summer 2016 - Unions & Politics

The Mainline for Winter 2016 - Contracting-in

The Mainline for Summer 2015 - Contracting-in

The Mainline for Winter 2015 - CALPELRA 2014

The Mainline for Fall 2014 - Call for Victory!

The Mainline for Spring 2014 - Contracting-out and the "10to 40 Plan"

The Mainline for Winter 2013 - Loss of Soldiers

The Mainline for Fall 2013 - Battling Management for a Good Contract

The Mainline for May/Jun 2013 - Bankers Robbed from the Pension Plan

The Mainline for Mar/Apr 2013 - Healthcare Reform

The Mainline for Jan/Feb 2013 - Strategic Plan and Rate Increase

The Mainline for Nov/Dec 2012 - Notes on PEPRA and CALPERA

The Mainline for Aug/Sept 2012 - Management Push to Takeover Water Recycling Operations

The Mainline for Apr/Jun 2012 - Int'l Convention

The Mainline for Mar/Apr 2012 - Civil Service

The Mainline for Jan/Feb 2012 - CALPERA report


Resolution requesting the EBMUDERS Board to direct its agents to make ethical investment decisions in the context of Climate Change.


Local 444 endoreses the March for Climate Leadership



California authorizes oilfield dumping into drinking water

A 10 minute audio file (mp4) of the comments made by Pres. Briceno and past president Rodriguez to the Board of Directors before they met for Closed Session on June 18, 2014 can be downloaded here




Resolution of AFSCME Local 444 Rejecting Contracting-out as a Mechanism to Achieve the “10 to 40 Plan” (click the hyperlink to download the pdf version)

WHEREAS, The District had a hiring freeze from 2009-2013;

AND WHEREAS,  The District is Operating and Maintaining a water distribution system with aging infrastructure that is overdue for replacement and renewal, due in part to the hiring freeze;

AND WHEREAS,  The District has raised rates on its customers with the promise of needed infrastructure renewal;

AND WHEREAS,  Pipeline Operation, Maintenance and  Construction is the core work of Plumbers, Heavy Equipment Operators, and other classifications represented by AFSCME Local 444;

AND WHEREAS,  The District foresees the need to reinvest in its Distribution System and intends to do so through the “10 to 40 Plan”;

AND WHEREAS,  Due solely to the District’s discretionary political and/or budgetary choices, the District may not currently be adequately staffed to achieve the “10 to 40 Plan”, and while it takes a minimum of 2 years to hire and train Plumbers, the “10 to 40 Plan” cites a timeline of more than 5 years;

AND WHEREAS, the law, specifically California Public Utilities Code section 11886, requires the District to be adequately staffed for the Operation and Maintenance of its system;

AND WHEREAS, the law, specifically California Public Utilities Code section 11888, prohibits the District from contracting for or employing any professional service required by the District for the performance of work or services unless the District demonstrates that the work or services cannot be satisfactorily performed by civil service employees;

AND WHEREAS, in 1981, AFSCME Local 444 obtained a favorable interpretation of California Public Utilities Code section 11888 and California Government Code section 3500 et seq. in the case of AFSCME Local 444 v. East Bay Municipal Utilities District, Alameda Superior Court Case No. 542735-8, and that decision is factually and legally relevant to the District’s current “10 to 40 Plan”;

AND WHEREAS, AFSCME Local 444 and its legal counsel have repeatedly thereafter reminded the District of its obligations under the statutes and the court’s ruling noted above.

THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED THAT: AFSCME Local 444 opposes contracting-out as a mechanism to achieve the “10 to 40 Plan”, and insists that as a first step toward the “10 to 40 Plan” the District begin staffing Plumber Crews and Equipment using civil service employees in the AFSCME Local 444 bargaining unit;

AND LET IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: AFSCME Local 444 opposes the FY15 budget that does not fund increased staffing levels in the AFSCME Local 444 bargaining unit.

Passed unanimously by the Membership of AFSCME Local 444 in attendance, May 29, 2014.


Pension Reform

Many of us are watching developments of the California Public Employee's Pension Reform Act (AB 340) very closely. The details are still coming to light and we are meeting our attorney Oct 20th to discuss the implications. You can find a spread sheet provided at the last EBMUD retirement board meeting outlining the changes attached here though this is preliminary and should not be taken as final. We will update the web site and inform the members at the regular General Membership meetings as we learn more.

The District recently sent a letter regarding pension changes under AB 340 including changes to the sick leave buy-back option (termed Sick Leave Pay-Out In Lieu of Service Credit Extension, MOU 16.1.9). The District's position is that the buy-back is forbidden under AB 340 and that there may be a substantial tax liability. Our attorneys have been analyzing the laws and documentation, and have been in discussion with the District. We will have a full discussion, debate and likely vote on the issue at our next General Membership meeting, Nov. 15.


AFSCME local 444 Stands in Solidarity with AFSCME local 207 Detroit's water and wastewater workers who went on strike to defend their right of collective bargaining. Very important and insightful details about their ordeal and their VICTORY can be found on their website:

The following letter was sent by acting President John Briceno to the Mayor of Detroit, Dave Bing, the Detroit City Council and all of the Water Board Commissioners:

October 6, 2012

The Honorable Dave Bing
2 Woodward Ave, ste 1126
Detroit, MI 48226

Dear Mayor Bing,

AFSCME Local 444, representing water and wastewater workers of East Bay Municipal Utility District in Oakland, CA. strongly condemn the attempted privatization of Detroit’s public water works and the subcontracting and outsourcing of public works jobs as proposed by the consulting firm EMA Group who plan to cut 81% of the DWSD work force as authorized by Federal Judge Sean Cox’s November 2011 ruling.

Public management, operations and maintenance of municipal water and wastewater systems are critical for the protection of public health and the environment, as well as the safety of the employees. When they are operated by private entities whose only concern is squeezing profit out of the system, the systems are typically run into the ground and staffed by employees who earn near-minimum wage and have little or no rights on the job. These are conditions ripe for violations, pollution and contamination; and after everything is broken and smashed to bits, the public are asked to pay for construction of new infrastructure. See, for example, the City of Richmond, CA’s experience with Violia Water.

As anyone from the Motor City should know, unions built this country and the working class who support it. Their rights should be protected and defended, not undermined by a few profit motivated individuals. Protect and Defend the rights of the working class, water and wastewater workers at DWSD and AFSCME local 207!

Sincerely yours,

John Bricino
1st Vice-President
AFSCME Local 444
8400 Enterprise wy,
Oakland, CA


AFSCME local 444 Stands in Solidarity with the South African miners in Marikana who have been on strike for batter wages and working conditions. Police shot and killed 32 of the protesting miners in one of the most brutal attacks on labor in recent memory. The Marikana strike is over and the workers won a significant pay increase after truely shedding their blood, and now other miners, truck drivers and equipment operators in the region are fighting for better pay and working conditions. These rockdrill operators who just wanted to be able to feed and clothe their families cannot be forgotten.

The following letter has been sent to President Zuma:

President Jacob Zuma
Private Bag X1000
Union Buildings, Government Avenue
Pretoria    0001     South Africa
Telephone: +27-12-300-5200
Fax: +27-12-323-8246

President Zuma,

Local 444 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, representing public utility workers in the Oakland, California area, strongly protests the cold-blooded massacre of striking miners in Marikana on August 16, when police opened fire on a demonstration of workers demanding wage increases. This atrocity is on a par with the worst massacres of the former apartheid regime. Likewise, we condemn the continuing strikebreaking and brutal repression of other striking miners and their supporters, including police assaults and arrests.

We stand in solidarity with the miners of South Africa fighting against starvation-level wages and intolerable conditions. We demand that all detained miners be freed and all charges be dropped now. We call for victory to all the striking South African miners.

Sincerely yours,

Ruben Rodriguez
President, AFSCME Local 444

copies to:

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU)
Telephone: +27-13-656-5111
Fax: + 27-13-656-5112

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)
P.O. Box 2424
Johannesburg    2000   South Africa
Telephone: +27-11-377-2002
Fax: +27-11-836-6051

P.O Box 1019
Johannesburg    2000   South Africa
Telephone: +27-11-339-4911
Fax: +27-11-339-5080/339-6940




The Executive Board has made an emergency endorsement of the Chicago Teachers Union who are currently on strike over teacher assesment and job security, as well as a fight against privatization of public education.

You can find a NYT article on the strike here and a link to the Teacers Union here



Many of you have been following developments of the Longshoremen's struggle to preserve their jurisdiction of the West Coast port terminal work. In Longview, Wa. the multinational EGT has been trying to break this juridiction, first by highering scab labor to do the work of ILWU local 21, then by negotiating a seriously flawed and concessionary contract mediated by the Govenor of Washington. You can read an analysis in the Maritime Worker Monitor here. Also, 444 has sent letters to the Colitz County prosecutor with copies to the Governor defending the heroic efforts of the rank and file ILWU 21 workers who are being charged with various crimes for defending their work. We urge the prosecutor to drop all charges.

EBMUD Water Plant operator Eric Gee recently traveled to Longview and talked with longshoremen there. Here is a report of his trip and thoughts on labor struggles: Longview.



Yes, this is Local 444 on the web. We hope you find it easy to navigate and should you have any questions please contact us by email or phone. The Officers and Executive Board wish to thank everyone for their input and ideas for this website.

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