Wednesday, July 30, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Panel recommends contract terms city, DCEA could agree upon

By
From page A1 | October 24, 2013 |

The city and one of its largest employee groups could be nearing a labor contract agreement.

A report authored by a third-party fact-finding panel was released to the public last week containing recommendations on the specific terms of the contract that is under negotiation between the city and the Davis City Employees Association.

The main provisions include capping DCEA’s cafeteria cash-out benefit — where employees who don’t subscribe to the city’s health insurance plan can take what they would have received in insurance, in cash — at $500 per month, phased in by 2017.

DCEA employees with the full benefit can receive up to more than $1,800 monthly now.

Further, the panel recommended that DCEA employees pick up their full 8 percent shares of payments toward their retirement plans, which the city has been paying in full.

The panel also agreed with the city’s plan to restructure and lower the retiree medical benefit for most employees, which would help the city put away funds for future costs of the program.

Boiled down, if the average DCEA employee earns $56,700 in salary, per city numbers, should these recommended terms be agreed upon, an employee who receives the full cash-out benefit would take a 23 percent hit, or almost $17,000, to overall annual pay.

However, even with that large concession in yearly income, Dave Owen, DCEA union president, says the union membership still ultimately would agree to a contract under these conditions.

“I think it was an attempt to split the baby,” Owen said of the report. “So I guess it comes back down to how serious is the city of Davis about having a negotiated agreement? You’ve got this (report), which, we don’t like it — I’m not going to lie to you — we don’t like it. But as we’ve said earlier, we could probably live with it. Anything more than this? There’s just no way.”

DCEA represents 78 employees in jobs such as public works maintenance worker, electrician and mechanic.

However, there are some potential advantages for the union that are included in this recommended deal, at least compared to what’s been offered by the city.

The panel suggests stretching DCEA’s contract over four years, rather than the traditional three, in order to spread out the cuts over a longer period of time and ease the financial burden on the employees.

Also, in exchange for the concessions, the panel recommended offsetting some of the new costs to the employees by awarding them a 12 percent raise over the four-year term of the contract, which would bump up the average salary for a DCEA employee to $63,500, plus benefits and the $500-per-month cash out by 2017.

The problem is, Owen says the union already has deferred raises for more than a decade and the 12 percent would provide only about a 1 percent raise per year since the last time DCEA employees received a true pay increase in 2006.

When the labor group’s contract expired in 2006, according to Owen, the MOU stated they were supposed to be awarded pay raises commensurate with market rates for like employees. Those raises, which the union received in installments after the contract expired, are essentially the last pay increases DCEA has seen from the city.

“Even though we do show some raises after ’06, they were to make up for what was supposed to happen (at the end of 2006),” Owen said.

“So with the fact-finder’s 12 percent, since this is a four-year deal, … over the course of 11 years from ’06 to 2017, we would get a 12 percent raise over that time.”

For city management, meanwhile, it appears the recommendations by the fact-finding panel affirm some of the concessions they’ve been asking DCEA employees to make.

But in a news release on the city’s website, management essentially says it’s not yet sure the recommendations reach far enough.

“Whether these additional recommendations are feasible must be evaluated in light of the city’s fiscal condition,” the release said.

City Manager Steve Pinkerton told The Enterprise on Wednesday regarding the four-year component of the agreement that the “fact-finder was concerned about payment shock” and that “(we will) have to look at equity between the groups and see what we can afford.”

One reason why the city may not be able to afford the terms is because of the “me, too” clauses that were included in contracts signed by its other labor groups. Those clauses require all employee associations to receive equitable deals.

If the city agreed to the recommendations made by the panel, Pinkerton said it would trigger those clauses and likely would force the city to pay back some of the concessions it received from other labor unions.

Pinkerton said he and the finance staff will have the costs related to an agreement based on the fact-finder’s recommendations for the City Council at its meeting Nov. 12.

The full report will be presented then and the council can take action on whether to proceed with the terms recommended by the panel or continue pressing for further concessions.

Fact-finding is the last step of impasse, the process often declared once negotiations between two parties have broken down. The city entered impasse with DCEA in November and the Davis Professional Firefighters Association Local 3494 in April. Pinkerton expects a similar report pertaining to the fire union contract to be released within a few weeks.

— Reach Tom Sakash at tsakash@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @TomSakash

Comments

comments

Tom Sakash

Tom Sakash covers the city beat for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at tsakash@davisenterprise.net, (530) 747-8057 or @TomSakash.
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
     
    Biggest book sale to date opens Friday at Davis library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Tee off for Davis’ continued prosperity

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

     
    Tasting event benefits Yolo Land Trust

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

    Center for Families hosts Summer Carnival

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Vintage car show planned this fall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Davis native named a Schweitzer Fellow

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Share your love of nature with young wetlands visitors

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Movies in the Park return this fall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Tips, techniques will give you a green thumb

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    How the Bockler wasp got its name

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    DHS Class of ’94 set 20th reunion

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Kiwanis golf tournament supports local agencies

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Grief support focuses on journaling

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Drop off school supplies at Edward Jones offices

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Wine-tastings will benefit YCCC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Yolo County CASA seeks volunteer child advocates

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    UC Davis alumnus hopes to bring amateur radio to Nepal

    By Rachel Uda | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    Recycle old paint cans for free

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Forum

    Violence as entertainment

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Shocked at vampires story

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Paul Krugman: Corporate artful dodgers

    By Paul Krugman | From Page: A6

     
    Nicholas Kristof: The world’s coolest places

    By Nicholas Kristof | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    Gravel mining affects us all

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    A’s rally to win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Morse homers but Giants lose 6th straight

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Fiona Buck pushes the limits in para-athletics

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Schaub settles in as Raiders starting QB

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Smither releases new CD Saturday at The Palms

    By Kate Laddish | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    RootStock kicks off ‘Día de Albariño’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Folk musicians will jam in the Arboretum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    YoloArts to host a state of change exhibit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    UCD professor Andy Jones named Davis’ new poet laureate

    By Rachel Uda | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Molten art on display at Davis Arts Center

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Brady earns top honors at State Fair

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6