EAST BAY CITIZEN. EVERYWHERE SINCE 2009

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

City Employees Agree to No Wage Increases, Furlough

CITY'S SAVINGS: $980,000; WORKERS' COSTS: 4.6 PERCENT PAY CUT 
By STEVEN TAVARES
The Citizen 
The new contracts San Leandro city employees agreed upon will not add extra money to their pockets for a second consecutive year, but the deal approved by the city council Monday night institutes one furlough day a month through December, costing employees 4.6 percent of their wages.

The one-year contract between the city and San Leandro Employees Association and the San Leandro Management Organization (SLMO), together represent over 350 employees and will save $980,000 this year, according to the city.

"I want to compliment both the negotiators and the employees for coming to an agreement that truly benefits the city on the budget aspect," said San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos, who also said the city would pare 91 full-time employees this year. "That shows budget constraint and we need to continue with that mode as long as the economic crisis continues."

Last week, Interim Finance Director Perry Carter announced the city's budget deficit would rise to $7.3 million this year.

San Leandro Councilman Jim Prola, who along with Santos are the two most pro-labor members of the council, said he was grateful for the concessions made by the unions amid economic uncertainty. "They are actually taking cuts in pay to help the city out and I truly appreciate it,: he said. "I know how hard it is to raise a family and try to make a house payment and take cuts in pay."

The SLMO, the smaller of the two unions with 48 members, will also pay half of any increases in medical benefits starting in 2011. Both deals, according to the city, call for retirement rates to be lower to 2 percent at 55 with three highest years, instead of 2.5 percent at 55 and single highest year.

Most importantly, the deal approved Monday is the inclusion of 12 furlough days saving the city just under $1million this year. The first furlough day is Feb. 11.

FURLOUGH DAYS 
February 11      July 2        
February 26      August 13             
March 12         September 3              
April 9          October 8                
May 28           November 12 
June 11          December 23

Vice Mayor Joyce Starosciak called the deal "a very generous resolution" and inquired whether the council, too, could be furloughed or take a cut in pay along with city employees. City Attorney Jayne Williams said state law stipulates elected officials are not subject to furlough days and any change in compensation in pay must be instituted beginning with the election of a new councilmember.

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