The City of Long Beach reached tentative labor agreements with the Lifeguard Association (LGA), the Long Beach Management Association (LBMA), the Association of Confidential Employees (ACE), the City Prosecutors’ Association (CPA) and the City Attorneys’ Association (CAA), according to an Aug. 20 press release by the City.
The five City bargaining units represent a total of 640 workers, 200 from LGA, 350 from LBMA, 40 from ACE, 20 from CPA, and 30 from CAA.
“City employees have been one of our greatest assets in supporting and protecting the public through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mayor Robert Garcia said. “It’s important to provide employees with a fair compensation package, and I want to thank these labor groups for working with the City’s negotiating team to develop an agreement that is forward-thinking and fiscally sensible.”
According to the City press release, the following cost saving measures will be used due to financial uncertainty and strains caused the coronavirus pandemic:
• Miscellaneous employees will have 26 furlough days during fiscal year 2021, with an alternative option for critical positions on an exception basis. The furloughs will cause a one-time 10% pay reduction.
• Lifeguard, Police and Fire management sworn employees will have a vacation accrual reduction equivalent to 40 hours for employees on 40-hour work week schedules (48 hours for employees on a platoon schedule).
• A new pension cost-sharing structure requires Classic Public –Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) members who are sworn employees to contribute an additional 3% of their salary to help offset the employer portion of pension costs.
• All agreements have a labor costing savings reopener clause in the event that the Mayor and City Council declare an economic emergency. This allows the City to re-open the MOU if the City faces further fiscal hardship.
The labor agreements also call for gradual raise increases, adjusted to each labor group, as well as additional skill pays, non-pension-based compensation and equity salary adjustments. This allows the City of Long Beach to compete with other public sector agencies.
Some tentative agreement terms are as follows:
• A general wage increase of up to 8% over the next four years for miscellaneous employees, with a contract lasting from Oct. 1, 2019, to Sept. 30, 2023.
• An 8.5% general wage increase for sworn managers, as previously approved in Police and Fire contracts.
• An 8.5% general wage increase for lifeguards over three years, with a contract term from Oct. 1, 2019, to Sept. 30, 2022.
Employee benefits will also include:
• New paid parental leave.
• An additional City holiday.
• Short-term and long-term disability insurance.
• Vacation, holiday in-lieu and personal holiday accrual maximums adjusted to accommodate the City’s LB Coast HR system requirements.
• And other benefit adjustments.
“We thank employees for recognizing the fiscal situation and coming to the table with solutions,” City Manager Tom Modica said. “Their sacrifices allow the City to avoid further layoffs and retain City services while working to meet $11 million in savings during this time of fiscal difficulty.”
Negotiations with remaining labor groups are ongoing, but are expected to reach a resolution soon. The city council will consider also applying proposed salary increases, benefits and cost-savings measures to unrepresented management employees, around 47 workers.