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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on March 13th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 1 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 1

Santa Maria City Council approves SEIU employee contract

On March 5, the Santa Maria City Council unanimously approved the last of its negotiated salary and benefits contracts with city employees. It’s taken three months to get the 270 city employees represented by Service Employees International (SEIU) Local 620 to agree to their contract for the year.

The union members’ last contract with the city expired in December 2012. Local 620 Executive Director Bruce Corsaw said the union took so long to agree to a contract because they thought the city of Santa Maria was asking for unfair concessions from their employees.

As the city was already seven pay periods into the year, and employees weren’t taking concessions but weren’t getting insurance benefits either, Corsaw said it made sense to go ahead with the contract.

“Neither group was getting what they wanted,” Corsaw said.

In the end, SEIU-represented employees agreed to take 2.5 to 3.5 percent concessions, which is approximately 1.5 percent less in concessions than last year. The concessions will come in the form they have since 2009: furlough days or mandatory days off without pay. This year’s count will be 10 days and, for most SEIU-represented employees, those days will be on the third Friday of every month except July and December.

Deputy City Manager Alitia Lara said concessions made by Local 620-represented employees will save the city about $311,000.

At the meeting on March 5, the City Council thanked Local 620 for coming to an agreement with the city and pointed to a future that might be a little brighter.

“Hopefully the economy turns around and the positive things that our employees do for us, all the bargaining units do for us, can be rewarded in some way that might be a little more meaningful,” Councilmember Bob Orach said.