Oakland, City Employees Reach Labor DealThe San Francisco Gate reports that the city of Oakland, California has reached an agreement with the city’s two largest labor unions, giving over 3,000 city workers their first raises in six years. The employees were represented in negotiations by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE).

The contract follows from a one-day strike last month by city workers and grants employees an immediate 2% raise, as well as a follow-on 1% raise next year. Interestingly, the city had pushed for cutbacks in health and pension plans, which apparently were excluded from the new deal. The deal has also yet to be finalized, so we will let you know when all of the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.

NFL, Players Union Continue Negotiations Over PED TestingAlbert Breer of NFL.com reports that the National Football League (NFL) and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) have been engaged in talks over the implementation of a testing regimen for human growth hormone (HGH). Sources from both sides say that talks have steadily progressed, with the goal of having a testing program in place before the start of the coming season in September. These talks have occurred sporadically since the new collective bargaining agreement was signed in 2011, so it would be wise to take any rumblings of a new testing regimen with a grain of salt. However, both the League and the Players Union have stated that the integrity of the game is a priority, so perhaps there will be a breakthrough soon. We will certainly keep you posted.

Unions Express Fear Over ACA ImplementationKris Maher of the Wall Street Journal writes that last Thursday, representatives of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) sent an open letter to President Obama expressing its concerns over the coming implementation of the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as "Obamacare." 

“In effect, ACA takes money from the pockets of each laborer covered by a health and welfare fund and gives it to for-profit insurance companies…Approximately 3 million laborers, retirees, and their families now face the very real prospect of losing their health benefits. This, I must remind you, was something that you promised would not happen."

While LIUNA was never supportive of the ACA, several other unions wrote similar letters to President Obama last week in a surprising about-face, as most major labor unions were behind the law’s enactment at the time. This past week, the law’s implementation was delayed a year in order to study its effects on small businesses. We will be watching this closely and will make sure you stay in the know about any further ACA updates.