City Agrees to New Contract with DCEA, Ending a Decade-Long Standoff

DCEA President David Owen addresses the council in 2012

In early 2010, a Davis City Council led at the time by Mayor Ruth Asmundson voted to impose the last, best and final offer on the Davis City Employees Association, after not being able to reach an agreement during the middle of the economic downturn. That would begin a long and protracted standoff between the city and the employee group, which would see that impasse overturned by PERB (Public Employment Relations Board) in November 2011, layoffs in the spring of 2012, another imposed contract in 2013, and no agreement until now.

To put into perspective how long this standoff has lasted, the current agreement was agreed to in 2005 and expired on June 30, 2009.  The current terms were imposed on November 19, 2013, and these terms included requirements for employees to pay the full employee portion of CalPERS (California Public Employees’ Retirement System) pension costs, and made changes to the employee benefit cafeteria program.

After ten years of ongoing negotiations, the two sides have finally come to a tentative agreement.

This is no small bargaining unit – DCEA is comprised of 80 members, about one-quarter of the city’s workforce.  The agreement sets in place changes to wages, benefits, and conditions of employment for a term that starts July 1, 2017, and ends June 30, 2021.

With this 4-year agreement, “DCEA will move to a re-structured retiree medical plan for future retirees that is in alignment with the structure in place citywide.”

One of the changes in the contract is that it goes from looking at salary to total compensation “in acknowledging the impact unforeseen changes in the CalPERS pension rates have on the finances of the City.”

Staff writes: “As with the other labor groups for which Council recently approved contracts , the City and DCEA representatives have worked collaboratively to address the City Council’s goal of CalPERS pension costs being part of the discussion relative to compensation, and this contract provides for an employee cost/benefit sharing mechanism, as do other employee contracts.”

The city continues their assumption of an annual 2 percent compensation COLA.

CalPERS has a projection of the expected rate increases for the pension plan over the next several years.  Staff writs that “the MOU provides that the employee will share in the impact of that variance in terms of cost, contributing up to an additional 1% of salary in the form of employee pension contribution.”

The employee group has gone nearly a decade without a cost of living increase and, therefore, when the city conducted a total compensation study, “most benchmarked classifications were found to be below the market median for comparable positions in comparable agencies.”

Because of this, the city has experienced difficulty in attracting qualified candidates for DCEA-represented positions.  Thus, the city has agreed, as part of the MOU, that “the benchmarked classifications and associated classifications shall receive a market adjustment to 5.26% below median.”

Term of Agreement

  • July 1, 2017 and ending June 30, 2021

Market Adjustment – effective November 19, 2018

  • Public Works Maintenance Worker II and associated classifications – 7.17% Market Adjustment
  • Building Maintenance Worker II and associated classifications – 4.38% Market Adjustment
  • Electrician and associated classifications – 8.21% Market Adjustment
  • Equipment Mechanic II and associated classifications – 9.77% Market Adjustment
  • Wastewater Treatment Plan Lead Operator and associated classifications – 4.27% Market Adjustment

Cost of Living Adjustment

  • Fiscal year 2017-2018 – 2% effective December 3, 2018
  • Fiscal year 2018- 2019 – 2% effective December 17, 2018
  • Fiscal year 2019-2020 – 2% effective pay period following 7/1/19
  • Fiscal year 2020-2021 – 2% effective pay period following 7/1/20

Pension Cost Sharing

  • Fiscal year 2019-2020 – Employee pickup of up to 1% pension cost share or up to 1% additional salary depending on actual PERS pension rates.
  • Fiscal year 2020-2021 – Employee pickup of up to 1% pension cost share or up to 1% additional salary depending on actual PERS pension rates.

One-Time Off Salary Schedule Lump Sum Payment

  • 2% of base pay non-pensionable lump sum payment to be calculated on pre-MOU hourly rate, representing one year, plus 4% of base pay non-pensionable lump sum payment to be calculated on pre-MOU hourly rate, representing four months. This lump sum covers the time from the beginning of the contract through actual contract ratification.

Retiree Medical Benefit

  • Employees hired on or after November 13, 2018 will be eligible to receive a maximum retiree medical benefit that will pay the Medical Supplemented/Managed Medicare monthly rate for either retiree only or retiree plus one dependent, depending upon actual enrollment at time of retirement. This is approximately one-third of the current benefit offered to employees.

Additionally, current employees retiring prior to December 31, 2019, will see no change in benefit.

Those hired before July 1, 1996, who retire after December 31, 2019, “will receive 100% of the premium for the plan available through Kaiser for retiree plus one dependent until Medicare enrollment, at which time the value of the benefit is reduced to the cost of Medicare Supplemental/Managed Medicare plan.”

Those hired after July 1, 1996, “will receive an amount equal to 50% of the premium for the plan available through Kaiser for retiree plus family until age 60. After age 60, the benefit changes to the value of 100% of the premium for the plan available through Kaiser for retiree plus one until Medicare enrollment, at which time the value of the benefit is reduced to the cost of Medicare Supplemental/Managed Medicare.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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9 thoughts on “City Agrees to New Contract with DCEA, Ending a Decade-Long Standoff”

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Should have included this in the article: “The City’s Financial Forecast Model and FY 2018/19 Adopted Budget incorporate 2% Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for fiscal years 2017/18 and 2018/19. As a result, the supplemental budget request (fiscal impact over the FY 2018/19 Adopted Budget) due to the MOU adjustments is $226,600. Of this amount, $98,600 is from the General Fund, $121,500 from the Enterprise Funds, and $6,500 from Other Fund sources.”

  1. Ron

    I find this “before and after” confusing:

    Before

    The current terms were imposed on November 19, 2013, and these terms included requirements for employees to pay the full employee portion of CalPERS (California Public Employees’ Retirement System) pension costs, and made changes to the employee benefit cafeteria program.

    After

    Staff writs that “the MOU provides that the employee will share in the impact of that variance in terms of cost, contributing up to an additional 1% of salary in the form of employee pension contribution.”

    Where are the future cost projections for this, in terms of what the city would pay?

    Similar questions would also apply regarding medical benefits.

     

     

     

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Someone like Matt Williams might be versed on the terms here. I would suggest though that what was imposed might not be that different from what was agreed to. The big difference would be that they are in fact agreed to. I know one thing that they couldn’t impose was the two tiered system, that had to be part of an actual CBA.

      1. Ron

        Thanks.  Yes – I’m hoping that Matt weighs in, regarding projected future increases in pension and medical costs to the city. I’m assuming that the wage increase also impacts the city’s cost for pensions.

        Seems like a 1% employee stake/contribution regarding increasing pension costs is nothing more than a token. Aren’t such actions a large part of the reason that cities are experiencing budget deficits, both now and in the future?

      1. Howard P

        Not quite accurate… depending how you view “maxing out”… %-age or $dollar… there is (almost, in extreme situations) no maxing out as to dollar… there is for %-age… for PS, it’s 90% of highest year (for those hired before 2013)

        https://www.calpers.ca.gov/docs/forms-publications/local-safety-benefits.pdf

        Different for Misc.

        https://www.calpers.ca.gov/docs/forms-publications/local-misc-benefits.pdf

        I don’t generally believe in spoon-feeding adults… except near ‘incompetence’…

        I have given cites for the programs… details applicable to Davis can be found on the City website… the currently approved MOU’s (except for CM and Executive Mgt) are there… as the DCEA thing (MOU) hasn’t yet been adopted, details are not under “MOU’s”, but should be available under CC Agendas.  Haven’t explored the latter, as I believe the current proposal is basically bringing DCEA in line with the other MOU’s.

        But, maybe all should ignore this post, as I am semi-anonymous (the VG should ban that!), and as some have pointed out, I’m psychologically disturbed and a j*****s to boot!

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