PIEDMONT -- The city has reached a tentative new labor contract with the Piedmont Firefighters Association, similar to the one approved earlier with the Police Officers Association.
The agreement was to be voted on by union members on Sept. 14, too late for the matter to be agendized in time for this Tuesday's City Council meeting, City Administrator Geoff Grote said.
The details of the final agreement -- in effect through June 30 -- will come before the council for review at its next meeting on Oct. 1.
The contract includes stipulations for a $100 per month contribution by each employee toward retiree medical, effective Aug. 1, 2012, with no salary raises. It continues the 50-50 cost share of the employer rate for the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) for any portion above 37 percent, plus an additional employee contribution of 0.6 percent of the CalPERS employer rate effective Aug. 1.
Like police, a two-tier system will be established Jan. 1, whereby new firefighter hires will be subject to a 2 percent-at-50 retirement plan, instead of 3 percent at 50, which current employees receive. That means employees would earn 2 percent of their salary for each year worked for their retirement benefit.
Councilman Jeff Wieler noted that police and fire employees are not eligible for Social Security benefits, only their pensions. The city does not pay into Social Security for those employees.
Grote added that the
On Sept. 12, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB340 into law, the California Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013. Most provisions of the law will apply to new employees.
"Some significant provisions will apply to current employees as well," Grote said.
New provisions become effective Jan. 1. The agreements in place in Piedmont already satisfy some provisions of the new state law.
Council members asked Finance Director Mark Bichsel what savings will be realized over time. He said that was difficult to analyze, that many factors would come into play, such as how many employees under the old plans would retire when.
"We will see a dramatic decrease in pension costs in eight years," Bichsel said.
Council members agreed that the city should keep pushing to reduce costs as each bargaining unit comes up for negotiations.
The city is under fire by opponents to Measure Y, a municipal services tax on the November ballot. They say Piedmont has not done enough to contain costs for pensions, health and welfare, resulting in millions of unfunded liability for these benefits.