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WatchSonoma
WatchSonoma Watch

County workers ratify labor contract

By BRETT WILKISON

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Sonoma County government’s largest group of rank-and-file public safety workers narrowly approved a proposed labor contract Monday, voting 143 to 117 in favor of the tentative agreement.

The deal covers the 470-member Sonoma County Law Enforcement Association, representing correctional deputies and counselors, probation officers, park rangers, emergency dispatchers, fire inspectors and some investigative posts.

It does not include deputy sheriffs or managers.

It offers some short-term salary savings for taxpayers while seeking to curb rising employee pension costs. In exchange, employees are set to receive salary boosts, starting in late 2014 and extending through late 2015, totaling 3 percent.

The county also is set to contribute more to employee health care costs through a new set of payments into health reimbursement accounts.

The deal, which extends to December 2015, is the first reached with rank-and-file public safety workers under the county’s recent bid to curb pension costs and reduce total employee compensation.

Projected taxpayer savings from the agreement have not been disclosed because county officials said they did not want to interfere with the group’s vote. Generally, the county has sought a permanent 3 percent reduction in compensation from rank-and-file workers.

County personnel officials said they would make a summary of the deal available this week in advance of the Board of Supervisors ratification vote Tuesday.

Kimber Williams, president of the Sonoma County Law Enforcement Association, announced the voting results Tuesday in an email to members and the county. The two sides began negotiation in July and the group’s previous contract expired in November.

Williams did not respond to calls requesting comment Tuesday.





9 Responses to “County workers ratify labor contract”

  1. County Worker says:

    Fish would love to end all unions.
    Probably a corprate manager, or gov’t manager.

  2. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    County Worker-I don’t hate the other county unions-we’re all in this together. However, as with the city, it seems that the safety unions tend to get what they want. SEIU is forced to go first in the negotiation process probably because there are more SEIU employees in the county than other union membership. Because of this SEIU members tend to get the worst contract-for instance all SEIU supervisors have lost all their deferred comp while management and the BOS are keeping some of theirs (after renegging on the letter of intent in August that said they would give it ALL up). This is a THIRD RETIREMENT FOR THEM.

    I still believe that management and the BOS should go first to show that they are indeed willing to sacrifice equally. We also have to remember that the county has been ADDING new management in a county where the ratio of management to staff is incredibly small-early in 2012 it was 1:5.73. It’s likely smaller now with all the managers being added to various depts.

    The tremendous increase in health care costs have hit SEIU families really hard since they tend to be the lowest paid in the county. Many have dropped their family members off their county paid insurance insurance. Meanwhile the county has this drive to bring healthcare to all residents of Sonoma county, except their own lower income employees. Seems very two faced to me.

  3. R.B. Fish says:

    End all unions.

  4. County Worker says:

    Accepted Birdy,
    Please dont fall for the jealous hype here and throw all the OTHER unions under the umbrella of management and huge slaries and pensions. All the others are front line staff as well as SEIU. Just as hated, but what the heck, haters gonna hate.

  5. County Worker says:

    Good luck with that Follower.

  6. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    County worker-all county employees lost on their health equally but families were especially hit hard. The COUNTY PAID deferred comp has to end for all county employees including BOS. It is a third retirement for management & the BOS who are still keeping some of theirs when they said they’d give it all up in their letter of intent to SEIU in August 2012. SEIU supervisors voluntarily gave up theirs.

    If I was incorrect on the 3% I apologize. But the management, unrepresented and BOS all got 3% in 2008 and my understanding is that ESC also got 3%. So far, they are keeping it but ESC is under contract negotiations.

  7. Follower says:

    It’s time for the voters to “ratify” a BAN on Public Employee Unions.

  8. County Worker says:

    You are incorrect birdy. That group did not get 3% in 2008. They were imposed on in 2007 and 2008. They were given 3/4 of a percent in 2007 when they lost $900 a month to increased medical.
    Just a little negotiation fact, ALL of the contract expires and will be negotiated again at the end, not just the defered comp.

  9. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Where are the details? Has anyone compared this contract to the one the BOS foisted on the SEIU employees?

    My understanding is that this group got a 3% raise in 2008 that SEIU employees did not get. Now they are getting the same 3% SEIU will get later in this current contract. By my math, they’re ahead by 3%.

    Again, I believe that the BOS and management’s contracts should be first as examples. Also, please note that the deferred comp being cut is only for this current contract. The public needs to watch very carefully that it isn’t reimplemented in the NEXT contract because that’s what this BOS does.