Oakland, CA – On February 26, the Oakland City Council voted to extend contracts with two of the City’s seven labor unions and bargaining groups, bringing closure to contract negotiations with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1245 (IBEW) and the Confidential Management Employees Association (CMEA). The prior agreements were set to expire June 30, 2019. The term of the new, two-year contracts will cover July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2021 and provides for two wage increases: 2% effective July 2019 and an additional 2% in July 2020.
In a separate action, the City Council also ratified salary increases established in the new three-year contract with the International Association of Firefighters, Local 55 (IAFF) as follows: 4% retroactive to November 1, 2017, 1% effective November 1, 2018 (with an additional 1% depending on the City’s Q3 revenues), and 2% effective November 2019. The term of this contract is through October 31, 2020. The firefighter’s wage increase, funded within the existing City budget, is consistent with the increases provided to civilian employees a year ago, the increases approved through the contract extensions with IBEW and CMEA, as well as the increases established in the contracts with the Oakland Police Officers Association (OPOA) and Oakland Police Management Association (OPMA) approved by the City Council in November 2018, which provides an average of 2.5% per year over a five-year agreement.
Additionally, the new agreements with IAFF and OPOA/OPMA cap the amount the City contributes for retiree health care benefits for active employees and current retirees, and aligns new hires’ benefits with the City’s civilian employees. These retiree medical caps represent significant relief to the City in beginning to address the growing and unfunded liabilities associated with providing health care to employees after they retire. The changes to retiree health benefits contained in the three public safety labor agreements are projected to reduce the unfunded liability by $79 million for IAFF and $96 million for OPOA/OPMA in FY 2019-20, for a total projected reduction of $175 million in the near term. The savings from these benefit reforms will continue to increase as the benefit tier for new hires materializes. By FY 2032-33 (within the next 15 years), these reforms will save $391 million against the current projected liability.
Over the past three months, the City has renegotiated contracts with five of its seven labor unions/bargaining groups: IBEW, Local 1245; CMEA; IAFF, Local 55; OPOA; and OPMA. Labor negotiations are getting underway with the City’s two largest civilian employee unions—SEIU, Local 1021 and IPFTE, Local 21; those contracts expire on June 30, 2019.
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