OC Supervisors Approve New Labor Deal With County Workers

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Nearly 11,000 Orange County workers are now slated see their first significant raises since the Great Recession, after county supervisors unanimously ratified a new labor deal Wednesday.

The deal, which covers two-thirds of the county workforce, calls for an immediate 4.5-percent salary increase, followed by 2.5 percent raises in July 2016 and 2017.

The workers, who are represented by the Orange County Employees Association, would also receive three $500 payments between January 2016 and December 2017.

“I’m very supportive of this deal,” said supervisors’ Republican Chairman Todd Spitzer.

Addressing employees, he added: “We value your work, we know how hard you work. We want you to be proud of working in this county.”

Even supervisors who have been very critical of public employee costs in the past – such as Republicans Shawn Nelson and Michelle Steel – were strongly in support of the deal, calling it a fair increase after major sacrifices by employees in the wake of the Great Recession.

“This is what I think is the appropriate, fair deal for now,” said Nelson, who motioned for the deal’s approval Wednesday.

“We have the lowest pension formula in the state of California,” he added, noting the 1.62-percent-at-55 formula agreed to years ago by the general workers.

“We’ve done the heavy lifting” to start fixing the county’s unfunded employee liabilities, he added.

The new deal covers hundreds of different county job classifications, like mental health nurses, district attorney investigative assistants, and veterans claims officers.

Its approval came on a unanimous 5-0 vote, with Supervisor Andrew Do participating by phone from Las Vegas.

OCEA General Manager Jennifer Muir, who led the union’s negotiating team in the six months of bargaining, said the deal would spark a much more collaborative environment at the county.

“We have a huge opportunity today, where we can move forward” on opportunities “to cut cost, improve efficiencies” and save money on healthcare while helping employees be more healthy, she said.

The contract sets up working groups for employees to collaborate with management on ways to make the county run more efficiently and reduce taxpayer costs – such as by reforming the county’s annual leave rules.

There was a possibility of the vote being delayed two weeks, until the new year. Spitzer argued for the delay, saying that while he supports the deal points, the public should have more time to digest the deal. The deal points were released by the county about a week before Wednesday’s vote.

“In my opinion, if this is a good deal, then it will be a good deal in two weeks,” Spitzer said.

But his colleagues saw it differently.

“We already almost agreed with this raise,” said Steel. “I don’t think it’s really fair for [employees] that they have to wait another two weeks to get a raise.”

There was one public commenter who opposed voting on the deal Wednesday.

Kathy Moran, a former aide to then-Supervisor John Moorlach, was critical of the timeframe for the public to digest the deal points.

She said she didn’t have a problem with the salary increases, but doubted the employee efficiency discussions will be yield any results and said that the public hasn’t had enough time to review the deal.

“I think it was done very poorly, in which you gave very little notice to us,” said Moran.

But to supervisors like Nelson, a week was plenty of time to review a straightforward deal.

“Is there anybody in the room that doesn’t understand what the raise is? 4-and-a-half [percent raise]. 2-and-a-half [percent], 2 and a half [percent]…This isn’t a real tricky formula,” he said.

“Today’s the time to vote on this deal,” he added. “The deal points [are] pretty tight. There’s not a lot of moving parts.”

OCEA members went nearly five years – beginning in July 2009 – without any across-the-board raises. In March 2014, they received a raise of 1.25 percent, and then a one-time 1.25-percent bonus the following month.

The agreement before that, from July 2007 through June 2009, increased salaries between 2.5 percent and 5 percent.

The new contract runs for about two and a half years, through late June 2018.

You can contact Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

  • LFOldTimer

    The truth is annoying at times, isn’t it Diego? Don’t worry little buddy. Sooner or later your ship will come into port. Hang in there. Btw, who’s Beelzebub?

  • Greg Lamon

    LFOld Timer is most likely a person who writes at the anti-public sector Union Watch web site and then comments on his own writings using various names to appear as other people supporting the theme of the article. The comments are more personal and sarcastic than the articles, and often use the term “trough feeder” to label recipients of public sector pay and benefits. The fact that LFOld Timer used that term here is a clue to who he probably really is, a paid hired gun. Consider the source. Also, why did he not appear at one of the Supervisors’ hearings to share his wisdom? Because Its easier to hurl such hate when hiding behind a fictitious name.

    • Diego Vega

      Well put, Greg. Very likely true. LFOldTimer’s standard response to facts supported by empirical data is usually school yard name calling. He’s someone’s shill.

    • LFOldTimer

      Thanks for your analysis, Greg, however insidious and inaccurate it might have been. Naturally I couldn’t just be a concerned taxpayer. I have to be a “paid hired gun” from somebody who accuses me of being “personal and sarcastic”. ha. Keep digging, Greg! You didn’t even counter one of my legitimate points. You just took the attack route. ha. So you lose my default, my friend. Go back to the minor leagues. You’re not worthy to debate me. I am neither “paid” nor a “hired gun”. I’m simply a concerned citizen who is getting tired of being hosed. But thanks for the victory anyway. Merry Christmas.

      • Diego Vega

        Then move someplace where you will no longer get hosed. There must be some libertarian paradise you could go. But when you get there do not expect roads, flood control, sanitation services, vector control, clean water, airports, police, emergency services, schools, and all the other wastes of your money that give OC the high standard of living you enjoy.

        • LFOldTimer

          We could get all those services plus more at half the cost we pay today if the politicians wouldn’t sell us out at the bargaining table and if government workers worked for the same compensation packages as private sector workers. Who do you think you are? God’s gift to Planet Earth? ha. Get real. The next time the investment markets crash you’ll get a taste of reality. But it’ll be a little sour to your liking. Merry Christmas. 🙂

          • Diego Vega

            You asked the714 to post his/her paycheck online before you would believe the 20.5% pension contribution. I challenge you to post your financial analysis proving you could provide the same QUALITY of infrastructure and services, at a HIGHER level, than the current employees. I’m anxious to see what your Walmart employees will provide.

            Without empirical data, your rants are just the same broken record we’ve endured for too long.

          • LFOldTimer

            You think government workers are superior to WalMart workers? ha. Been to DMV lately? Tried to get documents from a County department lately? I called the cops about a disturbance in the area. It took them up 1.5 hours to show up. ha. Trust me. You folks got nothing on WalMart workers as superior as you might think you are. ha. If I got half the service from County workers that I get from WalMart workers when I go to their store I’d be tickled pink. Merry Christmas!

          • Diego Vega

            No hard data to support your claims? Game…set…match. You lost. Merry Christmas.

          • LFOldTimer

            Had this been a sports game you would have already been carried off the field and put into traction. ha. Bush league competition. ha. Better to stay in your own element. Otherwise you just end up looking foolish! But Merry Christmas anyway.

  • LFOldTimer

    Compensation levels for any job should be based on 1) Skill required and 2) Risk. Most government jobs do not require tremendous skill. Most are very routine and bland. After you do the job for 6 months you could practically do it with your eyes closed. That’s the nature of a government job. And risk takers generally aren’t attracted to government jobs, which are routine and offer lots of job security. It’s very hard to get fired from a government job. So this begs the question: Why does a government job offer significantly higher compensations and earlier retirement than jobs in the private sector of a similar skill set? Answer: UNION MANIPULATION – which is nothing more than artificial outside interference that inflates the value of a government job over a job that exists in the private sector. Since the ‘free hand’ operates more efficiently and effectively in private sector employment – that should be the ‘gold standard’ for all employment relationships in the country (public and private). The problem is that we have a double standard – two separate standards – one for government and one for private – creating an inequitable system overall. This should not occur in the Untered States of America. All should be treated equally. But we’re not. Until that changes the notion that America is a ‘egalitarian society’ is a bald-faced lie. So let’s at least accept the truth as it stands today and stop living in a fairytale land of milk and honey. Ok? Is that too much to ask?

    • Dawn

      Wow. Just wow. I believe all this is an example of what my freshman comp professor would call “sweeping generalizations.”

      • LFOldTimer

        Your freshman comp professor was a liberal, wasn’t he? 🙂

    • kburgoyne

      Personally I have a preference for dealing with well paid health care professionals. Personally I have a preference for driving on roads maintained/overseen by well paid professionals. Personally I prefer to not have my home flooded because some underpaid overworked person was responsible for making sure the street drains were working.
      I recently had to get my driver’s license renewed in person at the DMV. It was a very professional experience. The person helping me was very courteous, efficient, and well trained in his job. I was so glad he wasn’t some underpaid person who only started on the job that week because of high turnover — like the generally low-efficiency, untrained, and unhappy people at places like WalMart who keep me from shopping there. I prefer dealing with well paid, competent, efficient, low turnover, and happy people at places like Costco.

      • LFOldTimer

        We must live in two different nations, Burgoyne. Give me your longitude-latitude – then maybe we can have some intelligent discourse.

  • LFOldTimer

    This is the reason I left the Republican Party years ago and never looked back. They talk one game and play another. They talk the ‘fiscal conservative’ game and then do whatever’s in their own political self interest. Spitzer wants to be the DA. Nelson wants to be a judge. Bartlett wants to join her clone, Pat Bates, in Sacramento, Do probably wants to be the PD. Steele? Who knows? But all are phonies. They all need Union support. ha. Talk is cheap during the election season. None will tell you that they gave away the farm to the County workers in 2015. They will tell you that they’re “fiscal conservatives”! ha. My foot they are! They’re really no better than Democrats at the end of the day. Two-faced double-talking imposters is what they are! All 5 should have the “R” stripped from behind their names.

    • kburgoyne

      Fiscally responsible managers deal honestly with their employees. They don’t ask them for help during a recession, and then screw them over once the recession is ending. I can see you’d be someone who ran an incredibly inefficient business.

      • LFOldTimer

        Does your idea of ‘deal honestly with their employees’ mean that the ones in charge must ripoff those who get stuck holding the compensation invoice by providing overly generous pay and benefits as compared to those in the private sector with same of similar skill sets? How is someone who cleans runoff drains really any different from a janitor? Thanks in advance for your explanation.

  • LFOldTimer

    Wow. Did the Supervisors wear their Santa Claus outfits while voting to approve this deal? Did they ride into the BoS chambers on a sleigh pulled by reindeer? ha Sweet! And Jennifer Muir didn’t mention that the LARGE majority of County workers get a 2.7 @ 55 – not a 1.62 @ 55. Probably 95% get a 2.7 @ 55. And the huge salary increase will only add to the pension burden. The spin is disgusting. They always spin the facts. They have to. Their job is to disguise the truth! ha. Wait until the next investment market crash. It’s coming. And then they’ll all be running in circles tugging at their hair screaming: “OMG. What are we going to do now? We’re melting….we’re melting….what a cruel world!!!” ha. Trust me. And once Trump is elected to office there are NO bailouts. If you make stupid decisions you’ll have to live with them and fix them on your own! This dumb move will cost us at minimum $90M extra in 2017. And that cost will go exponential in subsequent years!!! Stupid is as stupid does. Now prepare for the fallout. When the markets crash the new package can’t be rescinded. ha. That would be “mean” as those is the private sector get HUGE pay cuts, benefit cuts, layoffs and go part-time under 30 hours w/ no health care benefits! A private sector worker would die for a 1.62 @ 55 pension. What a scam. The pols need the union’s support when running for office. So they give away the farm – Democrats and Republican. Republicans are bigger louses since they’re supposed to be ‘fiscal conservatives”. What a crock. All are the same. It’s legal extortion of the taxpayers. More truth for you!

    • KenCoop

      You said: “And once Trump is elected to office there are NO bailouts.”

      Once again your meds wear off. Are you taking psychogenics in addition to your Ritalin?

      • LFOldTimer

        Are you back again, Ed Norton? I thought you’d be at the bowling alley playing the fool again with Ralph and Alice Kramden. How are Barney and Betty doing, btw? How old is Bamm-Bamm now? 50? Is Hoppy still alive? Say “hi” to the folks in Bedrock for me, ok?

        • KenCoop

          None of which changes your delusional beliefs that Trump will be president.

          • LFOldTimer

            Weren’t you the one to claim Trump would never make it to the primaries? ha. The rest is history. I don’t think you could pick a winner in a one horse race. So pipe down. I think Ralph needs a soda. Go get him one.

      • kburgoyne

        Hahahaha… Trump? I just got done talking with a couple moderate conservatives. They were telling me about their fear of having to vote for Hillary if Trump ends up being the GOP nominee. The right wing extremists love their Heir Drumpf. The true conservatives, in the tradition of Eisenhower, and trying to decide whether they’ll end up biting their lip and voting for Hillary or just not vote for president.

        • KenCoop

          Be patient with LF. The world is made for people like him who aren’t cursed with self awareness.

        • LFOldTimer

          Oh, so you talked to a couple “moderate conservatives” and from your conversation deduced that most or all moderate conservatives may be forced to vote for Hillary out of fear? hahahaha, Do you your own political polling agency, by chance??? hahahaha. Hillaryious!.

  • Bob Stevens

    So nearly a 10% raise inside of 18 months? I know I’ve posted about this before and while the emplyees are undoubtedly worth it, every county contract is going to have to have at least that. Just because the county is doing better financially, it’s not a reason to significantly jump salaries because when the fiscal situation inevitably goes down the salaries will not. This is a short sighted payout with long sighted negatives. We literally learned nothing from what happened 10 years ago. How about giving it a year or two and then start in with the raises? This county is like the 3 year old with money in its hand who must spend it all.

    • Diego Vega

      It’s been eight years with no raises. What will nine or ten years of no raises prove?

      • LFOldTimer

        So what? Why not compare yourselves to private sector workers with the same skill sets? Do you know a secretary (what do you call them in government? administrative assistants?) in the private sector wiht a 2.7 @ 55 – able to retire at 55 with 81% of their last paycheck? I don’t. If you didn’t get a pay raise for 40 years you’d still make more compensation that a private sector worker. And it’s the private sector workers who finance your compensations. Plus, it’s practically impossible to fire a government worker. Your job protections are beyond reason. Everybody seems to know this except for you.

        • Diego Vega

          You should get a job on talk radio the way you fabricate statistics and then beat up people with them.

          Do private sector employees pay 22% of EVERY paycheck toward their retirement? OC employees do. Oh, and those OC employees are also taxpayers, so they pay income taxes and property taxes that go toward public sector retirement payments on top of their pension deductions.

          OC employees qualify for 80% (usually less) only after 30+ years of work. It’s not an entitlement after just one hour on the job.

          Stop lumping all public employees in with public safety. They get the free ride. Non-safety employees work many years to get a fraction of public safety pensions and pay their share all along the way.

          • LFOldTimer

            1.Nobody in the County pays 22% of their income toward retirement unless they’re piling on with equivalent 401-k’s and independent retirement accounts. So don’t exaggerate. Some of us graduated from high school.
            2. Sure, you pay taxes but you GREATLY benefit from it. Private sector workers pay taxes and get nothing in return except for a workforce of pampered overpaid government workers who can’t get fired. See the difference?
            3. So private sector workers don’t work 30 years? ha. Private sector workers work 45 years and get half or less of your retirement. Your spin doesn’t work on me. I know how your system compares to the private sector. Trust me. You can’t fool me, brother.
            4. Safety or non-safety. All trough feeders.

          • the714

            Well, it’s not 22%, but I can assure you that I contribute 20.5% of gross to OCERS, every paycheck. Happy to send you my check stub as proof.

          • Diego Vega

            No, you don’t because LTOldTimer with his high school diploma said you don’t. He’s so much smarter than everyone else. He can do fractions!

          • LFOldTimer

            What does that 20.5% include. Pension, health care and a 401-k equivalent? I hardly believe it includes your pension dues alone. To retire at 55 w/81% of your last salary you should be paying 40% of every paycheck. I see they are going to increase the taxpayer’s contribution for your pensions again. Why should we have to pay more? Very few taxpayers retire at age 55. Why should we have to pay more for YOUR benefit when few private sector workers know what a pension is? The government’s talking about increasing the social security normal retirement age to 70. And the MAX benefit for SS is only about $30,000. Why do you have King and Queen status?

          • the714

            Yep, the 20.5% is just OCERS and yes, that’s for my eventual 2.7@55. Additional amounts are deducted for health care for my dependents, Medicare, SDI, federal and state taxes. I also separately contribute to a 457 plan. I don’t pay into Social Security, but for me that’s not so great since my SSA will be eliminated or reduced because of the OCERS pension, and I paid into SSA for many years pre-County employment.

          • LFOldTimer

            Could you post your paystub to verify? Anybody could claim anything on the internet. Thanks in advance.

          • the714

            The thing that should anger you – as it does me – is that when 2.7@55 was implemented it was made fully retroactive for all employees at the time. So someone with many years of County service got his or her pension doubled for essentially free, and those of us who questioned this at the time got shouted down (and I mean that literally). And guess who got stuck with that check? Hence my 20.5%.