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Council to Boost Worker Salaries

By Lookout Staff

July 15 -- Despite a faltering national economy, employees in two of the City’s biggest unions will get a total of more than $3.5 million in raises and additional benefits under a contract the City Council is expected to approve Tuesday night.

Part of the City’s record $524.7 million budget for fiscal year 2008-09, the raises have been ratified by the Municipal Employees Association and the United Transportation Union, Local 1785, both of whose contracts expired June 30. The council is expected to authorize the City Manager to sign on. (“City Budget Passes Half-Billion Mark,” June 18, 2008)

Under the new contract with municipal employees, the lion’s share of the City’s 1,900 workers will receive $2,652,570 more during the current fiscal year, reflecting a 4 percent cost of living increase and deferred compensation match.

The three-year-agreement provides a cost of living adjustment of between 2 and 4 percent for the following two fiscal years, according to City staff.

The contract also increases the City’s deferred compensation match from $35 per month to $40 per month for FY2009-2010 and to $50 per month for FY2010-2011. In addition, it adds one “additional non-cashable personal leave day for FY2010-2011 that must be used each fiscal year or be forfeited,” according to staff.

The contract, staff wrote, “makes some minor economic changes that will be absorbed by the affected departments and some non-economic changes.”

The contract with transportation workers at the Big Blue Bus calls for a $914,100 raise during the current fiscal year, according to staff.

The three-year agreement provides “salary adjustments to keep salaries in line with salaries in the applicable labor market,” staff wrote:

Workers’ salaries would rise from $23 to $23.90 during the current fiscal year, to $24.75 per hour for the following fiscal year (a 3.56 percent increase) and to $25.65 per hour for Fiscal year 2010-2011 (a 3.64 percent hike).

The agreement also provides City-paid long term disability insurance coverage, a higher vacation accrual rate for employees with between five and ten years of service (1.25 days/month) and a sick leave buy back program “whereby employees can cash-out unused accrued sick leave at the end of each fiscal year,” staff wrote.

The total cost for the current year includes $545,000 in cost of living increases, $182,800 in City-paid long term disability insurance coverage, $45,300 to cover the increased vacation accrual rate, an estimated $146,600 for the sick leave cash-out program.

Workers will be paid a bonus totaling $29,200 for completion of required CHP logs. The City will save $34,800 by eliminating a bonus, according to staff.





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