PLEASANTON -- Firefighters in the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department will soon begin paying 9 percent of their base salary towards their pension benefit costs, up from the 2 percent they agreed to just two years ago.
The new contract was negotiated between the city and Local 1974 of the International Association of Firefighters union and was the hot topic of discussion at Tuesday's city council meeting.
The contract requires members to begin paying a total of 6 percent of their base salary toward the employee portion of the California Public Employees Retirement System fund, the state retirement fund, once the contract is ratified. Ratification is expected at a special meeting on Tuesday. The full 9 percent of contributions will start July 1, 2013.
The contract will cut city costs by more than $1 million when fully in effect next July, and the full cost reduction would be $2.13 million, shared equally by the cities of Pleasanton and Livermore.
For years, firefighters contributed nothing toward their CalPERS pension program after the city agreed to cover the costs instead of lowering wages. This was a practice done by many Bay Area cities, said assistant city manager Julie Yuan-Miu.
But benefit costs increased, and in 2010 the firefighters came to the city to offer up concessions to their pension plan, Yuan-Miu added.
Since September 2010, union members have been contributing 2 percent of their salaries towards their
"They are OK with it," Yuan-Miu said. "We have talked and they have agreed to that."
Multiple phone calls to the union representative seeking comment were not returned.
The new contract, which expire in 2014, also changes the retirement formula. It currently pays 3 percent of the most recent year's salary for each year worked for those who have reached 50 years of age to 3 percent of the three highest years of earnings at age 55.
The contract will officially be approved at the Pleasanton council's special meeting to be held Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the council chambers, 200 Old Bernal Ave.
Contact Katie Nelson at 925-847-2164 or follow her at Twitter.com/katienelson210.
The International Association of Firefighters, Local 1974 includes 103 sworn fire personnel. The expired contract between the union and the city covered the period between Aug. 1, 2007 to Dec. 31, 2011. The city councils of both Livermore and Pleasanton had representatives meet and confer with the representatives for the union. Both worked together to develop the new contract, which ends June 30, 2014.