[Redwood] City’s final labor union agrees to wage concessions

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Published in the Redwood City Patch  By Stacie Chan
June 16, 2011

After six months of negotiation, the city and the Service Employees’ International Union (SEIU) signed a three-year contract Wednesday after more than a dozen private negotiating sessions. The city’s six labor groups have all reached agreement on wage concessions in time for budget approval.

“A lot of members didn’t like the contract, but we wanted to do our fair share,” said Rich del Ben, SEIU Local 521 Chapter Chair.

The city has been working with the city’s labor groups to help cut $5.6 million in salary and benefits over the next three years to reign in the city’s budget deficit.

City Manager Bob Bell did not have any comments at this time.

Cheryl Easterbrook, Secretary for Engineering and Transportation of the 265-member union said, “In these tough economic times, we always strived toward an agreement that maintains community services, and we’re happy to have accomplished that.”

The three-year contract includes time from February of this year until Jan. 31, 2014.

Employees would have to pay an additional 2 percent from their salary into the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) starting Feb. 1, 2012, and an additional 1.8 percent beginning Feb. 1, 2013.

Employees will have to take an additional furlough day in 2012 and three furlough days in 2013, a clause which does not end with the three-year contract.

Two administrative holidays will not be granted in 2013.

Starting in 2012, employees will have to pay a 5 percent on medical premium and 5 percent of their cafeteria plan.

“Hopefully next time, negotiations will go a lot smoother,” del Ben said.

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