The City has reached a contract agreement with the Glendale Water & Power (GWP) employee bargaining group, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 18. As this is the initial collectively bargained labor agreement between the City and IBEW since their petition for representation was accepted in 2011, a significant amount of effort was placed in the discussion and drafting of the various elements of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) document.
In the four-year contract: The employees will receive a 1% COLA, plus 3% adjustment in the first year, in exchange for IBEW members paying an additional 2.5% towards their Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) retirement. This pension cost-sharing will bring the City’s utility employees into alignment with the rest of the City’s workforce. In the second year, an additional salary step will be added to existing salary ranges in the amount of 5.5%, which will benefit those unit employees at the top step of their respective salary ranges.
The City of Glendale, CA, will conduct a salary survey of Burbank and Pasadena’s utility employees in years three and four. Those found to be below the labor market average will be eligible for adjustments in the range of 0.5% to no more than 2%. The salary survey is part of an organization-wide effort to bring Glendale salaries more in line with its labor market comparison cities. Other increases will be based on employee certifications and specialty assignments. Significantly, IBEW is the first union group in Glendale to agree to an un-blending of retiree medical rates for prospective retirees within this bargaining unit. The un-blending of active and retiree medical insurance rates by all employee groups would eliminate an estimated $245 million “Other Public Employee Benefits” (OPEB) liability, which is currently unfunded.
IBEW also agreed to a conditional no-strike clause, ensuring that a high quality of service is continuously provided to Glendale’s 88,000 utility customers.
This contract was reached after 4 years of intense negotiations. As the City faced unprecedented reductions in budget during the recession, it turned to its bargaining units to make concessions, giving back parts of their salaries and contributing greater amounts towards their pensions to reduce City costs. Agreements could not be reached with IBEW over these concessions. After a year of good faith negotiations an impasse was declared. In May of 2013 a 1.75% pay reduction was imposed on IBEW by the City. This followed a previous pay reduction of 1.5% to all general employees in 2010, when they were part of another employee bargaining unit.
The City of Glendale, CA, is pleased that a resolution has been reached. Over the last several years Glendale has been the leader in pension reform and has worked with its bargaining units to increase the amount that they pay toward the employer’s share of the PERS cost and create a second-tier retirement system that raises the retirement age and averages the determined pension benefit over three years instead of the last highest. The City of Glendale is committed to remaining a competitive agency in employee recruitment and retention to ensure the highest quality of service that is provided to its residents.
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