Rick Davis, Director
Public Employee Division
Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 was one of the first unions to represent public employees, beginning relationships with public employee workers in the late 1960s.
The mission of the Public Employees Division is to provide professional labor representation for public sector workers and to organize new units throughout public agencies that will improve their working conditions.
Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 represents more than 12,000 workers employed by cities, counties and special government districts throughout Northern California, Northern Nevada, Utah and Hawaii. They are employed in classifications ranging from public works, health services, water and sewer treatment, and city and county finance. More than one-third are public safety officers in law enforcement and fire service.
Until the late 1960s, there were no provisions for union membership or collective bargaining for public employees in California. The National Labor Relations Act, which governs labor relations in the private sector, specifically excluded employees of state and local governments and barred them from collective bargaining. In 1968, California enacted the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act to govern labor relations in local government. Since then, three other bills in California have been enacted to cover state, school district and higher education employees. The Educational Employment Relations Act covers K-12 schools and community college employees. The Higher Education Employment Relations Act covers university employees and the State Employer-Employee Relations Act (also known as the Dills Act) covers most state employees. Most other states have since adopted some form of bargaining laws for public employees.
Collective bargaining in the public sector is relatively new. In the early 1970s many employee associations either tried their hand at collective bargaining or began a search for union representation. In the trades and maintenance sections of the public sector, many employees were already very familiar with Local 3 through public works construction projects. They knew of the higher wages and excellent benefits Local 3 had obtained for construction workers. Local 3 has been selected to represent public workers in many similar jurisdictions.
Today, the Public Employees Division represents trades and maintenance workers, law enforcement personnel, mid-level managers and other professionals in more than 200 bargaining units.
We represent public sector workers from different California union offices located in Redding , Fresno , Eureka , San Francisco , San Jose , Modesto , Alameda , Sacramento , Stockton , Rohnert Park and Yuba City. In addition, we have offices in Reno , Nevada , Salt Lake City , Utah , and Hawaii. Local 3 negotiates wages, hours and working conditions. We defend workers from unjust discipline, including termination. We represent law enforcement workers at critical incidents, internal affairs and when questioning by the employer may lead to discipline.