After eleven and a half months of negotiations, zoo keepers at the Oakland Zoo signed off on the first union contract ever at the venerable institution. Amazingly, since its founding over one hundred years ago, the workers at the East Bay landmark have been non-union.
Organized last Summer, negotiations began under Local 853’s new administration in January. Talks were initially somewhat rocky, but the parties established a rapport based on mutual trust and respect, knowing that this was the only way to reach an agreement that would benefit the workers and the zoo. The result is arguably one of the finest contracts in the nation for zoo keepers.
The hard work of the membership, the bargaining committee, and the leadership committee was key to bringing the contract home. The agreement will be voted on before the first of the year with the enthusiastic and unanimous support of the negotiating and leadership committees.
Pictured above (l-r) are Oakland Zoo CEO Nik Dehejia, bargaining committee member Ashley Xiong, bargaining committee member Stacie Piccone, bargaining committee member Madison Brandon, BJ Allen People & Culture, Michelle Myers VP People & Culture, Teamsters Local 853 Recording Secretary & Business Agent Mike Henneberry. Not pictured (but there in spirit) is Oakland Zoo Board Member & bargaining committee member Steve Kane.