Workers in the city's police, fire and teamsters unions have voted to approve new agreements with the city, said City Manager David Carmany Thursday. The agreements go before City Council for public review and approval Wednesday night.
City Council is meeting Wednesday instead of its regularly scheduled Tuesday due to the city council election for three available seats. Six candidates are running.
The new MOUs with the Manhattan Beach Police Officers’ Association, Manhattan Beach Firefighters’ Association and California Teamsters Local 911 deliver net cost increases to the city's budget of 1.41 percent for police, 1.49 percent for fire and 1.06 percent for Teamsters union members for the life of the three-year contracts.
"I think this will set a standard in the South Bay," Carmany said, adding that such a small percentage increase bodes well for the city, particularly since staff costs comprise "well over 70 percent" of the city's budget.
Union members will receive one 2.5 percent salary increase during their three-year MOUs [Teamsters members' 2.5-percent salary increase will begin in March, police employees' next January and fire employees' Jan. 1, 2015], as well as salary increases to offset the money they will pay toward their retirement and health insurance benefits.
The police association and teamsters have agreed to pay 5 percent and 3 percent, respectively, for the premiums for their current insurance benefits. The fire association, which currently receives a flat dollar amount for health insurance premiums, will begin paying 5 percent of the premium, effective in 2014, Carmany said.
The city previously paid all of the insurance premiums for these workers.
"The new agreements represent a number of shifts [in how things are done]," said Carmany, noting that "it's not a dollar per dollar shift."
"Over a three-year period, we've cemented in the labor costs so the city can use its money on other things that need to be tended to," he said, citing aging infrastructure as an example.
The Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013, a new federally mandated retirement formula, went into effect the same day the MOUs did, enabling the city to require new police, fire and Teamsters employees to retire under a different benefit formula than existing union members.
New police and fire union members are subject to a new lower 2.7 percent at 57 years of age formula and the new Teamsters members are subject to a new lower 2 percent at age 62 formula. All are calculated on a 36 consecutive-month period, instead of the employees’ single highest salary year.
In addition, new members to the police and fire associations must pay their entire CalPERS new member retirement contributions, 12.25 percent, provided for in the law. Teamsters, whose legal requirement is 6.25 percent, have agreed that new members will pay 7 percent.
Perhaps the most visible term of the new agreement will be a new police department schedule for patrol officers and members of the Teamsters who will work modified schedules. Patrol officers will work 12.5-hour shifts, three days a week plus another 10 hours over a set time period, city hall Teamsters members a nine-day, 80-hour schedule and Teamsters working at the Public Works Department Yard will have the option work 10-hour schedules four days a week.
Carmany said the new work schedules, all operating on a trial basis of one year, will not result in the closure of any city facilities Monday through Friday. He said the new work schedules were "one thing the city could do that was of interest to employees."
Praising city workers, Carmany said, "The employees are the city's most important resource." He said the new agreements will enable the city to continue to recruit top talent and maintain high standards of service.
The city’s previous agreements with the three unions were signed in 2006 and expired the summer of 2011. The following December, city council voted to extend the contract until the end of 2012.
City council will hold its next meeting in City Hall Council Chambers, 1400 Highland Avenue, from 6 to 11 p.m. on Wednesday.