Attacks on Community Bridges unwarranted

To the Editor,

The Board of Directors of Community Bridges writes to express our disappointment about the attacks on Community Bridges and its Chief Executive Officer Raymon Cancino that were recently published in a letter to the editor. 

Community Bridges and Service Employees International Union, Local 521 have been in negotiations for many months, trying to reach an amicable collective bargaining agreement addressing salary increases and other items. These are difficult negotiations because of the funding challenges that nonprofit community organizations are facing during these difficult economic times and the rising cost of living in this area. The parties will be meeting soon with a mediator from the Federal Mediation Service, where we hope to focus our attention in peaceful and mindful mediation, rather than through negative press and unwarranted personal attacks.

Mr. Cancino did receive a salary increase in 2016. In that same year, he was the single largest employee donor, giving back more than $6,000 to Community Bridges — a donation representing 42 percent of all employee donations in FY 16/17. In recognition of financial challenges that year, he also voluntarily froze his salary, declining the salary increase. His actions reflect the spirit of a community leader who truly believes in the work he does.

Mr. Cancino did not give himself a raise this year. He received a step increase in his salary after a carefully monitored internal process that is based on the same standards used for all employees under peer review guidelines and a performance-based system. The Board approved Mr. Cancino’s step increase in recognition of his exemplary performance. Performance-based step increases are also available to all SEIU-represented employees under the most recent labor contract.

The Union has also criticized our purchase and renovation of a new building, which will actually save immense amounts of money in the years to come and ensure that Community Bridges can continue to fund our merit-based compensation system. This investment ensures the financial stability of the organization in the long term, and will support stability in a time of reductions in funding streams.

We support the employees of Community Bridges in every way possible, and we honor their decision to choose SEIU as their exclusive representative. However, SEIU’s tactics away from the bargaining table tend to be divisive in our closely knit and mutually supportive community.

Community Bridges Board of Directors

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