On the eve of a key budget hearing at City Hall, a new city union of management and administrative workers overwhelmingly ratified a labor agreement with the city based on increased pension and health contributions made by employees.
The deal with the Sacramento City Exempt Employees Association (SCXEA) was approved by nearly 83 percent of union members who voted on the deal in recent days, the union announced today. It is expected to be formally approved by the City Council at Tuesday night's council meeting.
Under the agreement, more than 550 employees in the union will pick up their entire share of their CalPERS contributions and new hires "will be placed in a retirement plan that has lower benefits," according to a statement released by the union. The city will continue to make an employer contribution toward employee pensions.
The union also agreed to take on increases in health insurance premiums and new employees will not receive city contributions to health coverage plans in retirement.
Many workers now covered by the union have not had raises in four years and have been placed on furloughs as the city battled persistent budget deficits.
"Recommending this to our members in our very first year of existence was an extremely difficult thing to do," union president Murray Levison said. "But it was necessary to preserve the fiscal viability of the city organization, so that the organization can provide necessary and important services to our citizens and be able to keep our employees working."
The deal places increased pressure on the unions representing firefighters and police officers. Members of those unions are being asked to pick up the entire employee share of pension contributions.
No deal has been reached with the public safety unions, meaning nearly 100 cops and firefighters are expected to be laid off by the City Council on Tuesday. That vote can be reversed if deals are struck with the unions by July 1, the start of the next fiscal year.