Local 1245 members packed the council chambers, above, and also filled up an “overflow” room, below, equipped with a video monitor.
Local 1245 members and supporters jammed into the meeting room when the Roseville City Council met on July 20, but to no avail. Council members voted to impose a new labor agreement (memorandum of understanding) that was essentially unchanged from the last, best and final offer that had been rejected earlier by Local 1245 members.
“There was a large 90-member turnout at the City Council meeting and many strong arguments were made by Pat Waite, Ray Thomas, and other IBEW 1245 members against the council taking actions that would significantly cut the employees’ compensation,” said Local 1245 Business Rep. Charley Souders, who will be responsible for representing members at Roseville going forward.
“Despite the large turnout in numbers and strong arguments,” Souders said, “the city council voted unanimously to implement an 8% takeaway by requiring our members to pay 8% towards their CalPERS retirement plans beginning on Aug. 6, 2011.”
The council’s vote came after two bargaining sessions mediated by the state on July 1 and 5.
“During mediation the city made no movement on their original proposal made on October 2010 to have employees pay 8% of EPMC,” Souters said.
Waite, whose assignment area is moving east to Nevada, was on hand to argue the union’s case at the council. He was pleased with the enormous show of force by Local 1245 members at the meeting, but not by the outcome.
“Our members packed the Council chambers, but the decision had been made long before the meeting,”Waite said.
The one-year agreement, which runs for calendar year 2011, includes the following provisions:
Effective 7/20/2011 employees begin contributing 8% of EPMC to CalPERS.
For employees hired after 3/31/11 elimination of 2.5% longevity pay after ten years of service.
Employee to pick up all current and future medical premium increases.
Public sector workers have been under enormous pressure to give up negotiated wages and benefits ever since the economy crashed in late 2008. The problem has been made worse by right-wing ideologues who have scapegoated public workers for the problems caused by corrupt practices on Wall Street and in the mortgage industry.
Souders said the union was already planning for the next round of bargaining. The new MOU imposed in July by the City expires at the end of the year.
“At last month’s meeting our members showed they are willing to stand up and be counted when the going gets rough,” said Souders. “Roseville has traditionally been a good place for our members to work. It’s very short-sighted for the city to undermine compensation and working conditions for the people who provide a service as vital as electric power.”