Supervisors Reach Tentative Labor Deal With County Employees Union

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Orange County supervisors this week reached a tentative labor deal with the county government’s largest union that includes the first significant raises for workers since the Great Recession hit.

The tentative deal with the Orange County Employees Association calls for an immediate 4.5-percent salary increase, followed by 2.5 percent raises in July 2016 and 2017. Workers would also receive three $500 payments between January 2016 and December 2017.

The terms of the new deal also set up working groups for employees to collaborate with management on ways to make the county run more efficiently and reduce taxpayer costs.

The groups would be aimed at reforming the county’s annual leave rules and creating “programs to  reward outstanding performance and cost savings within teams, County departments and the County as a whole,” according to a county news release.

“The proposed tentative agreement reflects the Board [of Supervisors’] continued focus on working in partnership with its employees to enhance health and wellness in ways that are both cost effective and promote improved health, and on compensation that rewards the County’s hard-working employees while maintaining fiscal prudence,” the county release stated.

Supervisors’ Chairman Todd Spitzer said he’s happy with the proposed deal, noting sacrifices made by workers in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

“I am excited about reaching a three-year agreement with our dedicated and committed county employees. They made significant sacrifices since the economic decline yet worked everyday to provide quality service to our county citizens,” Spitzer said in a statement.

OCEA represents approximately two-thirds of the county workforce, or 10,900 employees out of a total of 16,200.

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

The prior agreement, from July 2007 through June 2009, increased salaries between 2.5 percent and 5 percent, “with the higher raises going to those whose positions were deemed to be below-market based on a market-rate study,” according to county spokeswoman Jean Pasco.

The deal now goes for a vote by OCEA’s membership, as well as a vote by supervisors at a special meeting next Wednesday. Supervisors are also holding a special meeting Friday morning to hear public comments, and possibly weigh in themselves publicly about the proposal.

“Our hearing Friday will highlight if the board missed any significant issues which is the basis for the [seven] day notice requirement,” Spitzer said.

If approved, the contract would run for about two and a half years, through the end of June 2018.

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

  • jim waldron

    Lol and to you a good night

  • jim waldron

    Ah you went back to the chicken little theory again. Nope not 95%are 2.7 @55…Sorry strike 2…you have multiple retirement plans including safety.Unless of course you want a team of 75yo pulling a hose to put a fire out or a high speed chase followed by 80 you lol….In this county the pension is funded by the employee. ..100%…fact Avg pension payout under 29000 per yr…..OCERS is managed welll…I think you are confusing State,Fed City and County….Per capita this county is one of the lowest worker to resident ratio in the state….look at the services offered from animal control to city streets to inmate pop to lifeguard rescues…..Your property value is one of the highest in the country because of these services. …please note we are all taxpayers here and believe me you much more fortunate than other counties in this state

    • LFOldTimer

      If property values were dependent upon county services we’d be a shanty town. Are you sure you’re referring to Orange County, Jim? Do you have us mixed up with Monterey County? I have a suggestion. Back up about 3 steps and start over. I think your wires got crossed somewhere. Go light on the eggnog, ok? Merry Christmas.

  • jim waldron

    Apples and oranges as usual you have mixed them up again. Firefighters and police officers get safety retirement. The rank and file county worker does not. All employees hired within the last 2 years are mandated to take a 1.62 and 65 retirement. So try to get your facts straight and that way you’ll have a better argument

    • LFOldTimer

      Whether it’s safety or non-safety – all feed off the largess of the taxpayers and collect hefty county pensions. Pensions that are non-existent in 90% of private sector jobs. The source of funding is the very same: The taxpayers. Even if you strike safety the average county worker with over 25 years on the job no doubt collects a pension of $65,000 or more. Not less for sure. And I think you have your wires crossed on the pension formula option(s) for new hires. Even if what you say is correct over 95% of today’s county workers have a 2.7 @ 55 pension. And that’s enough to sink the county’s ship as we move forward. The next stock/bond market meltdown will bring it down. And there are no lifeboats or life jackets aboard the mother ship either! 🙂

  • jim waldron

    All new employees who have been hired within the past two years are 1.62 and 65. So obviously it’s more than a handful. I believe the average retired person from the county is under $30,000. Not your inflated $75,000 you do sound like you have a lot of sour grapes sorry . By the way you don’t have any facts just whining

    • LFOldTimer

      Oh stop it. Your average county retired benefit of $30000 includes all those who worked for the county for 10 years or whatever vested years are needed to collect and quit. If you used an average of those County workers who retired with 25 or more years on the job it would probably be about $65,000 to $75,000. The cops and firefighters generally collect over $100,000 pensions. So again, you don’t have a clue of what you’re talking about. Not all new employees are forced to take the1.62 @ 65. You know better than that! ha.

  • jim waldron

    OMG you have no point. ..just whining ..you didn’t address the reform this county has done..1.62 @65…..again most employees do not retire at 55 ….most don’t retire from the county ….you can look up how many rank and file retire with high pensions. ..how many pay +20% of their pay …This county has made prudent moves to stay solvent and this raise is well deserved

    • LFOldTimer

      How many county employees (and what percentage of all employees) are on the 1.62 @ 65? I bet I could count them on one hand. ha. You have the option to retire at 55. That’s impossible in the private sector under social security. And you had no good answer to the FACTS that I pointed out that cited the differences between the county pension plan and social security, did you? You folded on that part of the debate because I provided too many FACTS that you couldn’t counter. If County workers didn’t get a pay raise for the next 40 years their salary and benefits compensation would still outshine what the average private sector worker makes with comparable skill sets. Thre’s another factoid for ya! 🙂

  • Bob Stevens

    So within 18 months they will have almost a 10% pay raise? While I’m sure they deserve it this will mandate that every other union in the county structure will get at least that much. Way to go BOS… Really saving money there. I’m so happy the 2 extra tax assessments I got for my property taxes are going to be used to fix county salaries. This county is the joke of the nation.

    • LFOldTimer

      The BoS feigns that it represents the taxpayers. It really doesn’t. It’s spends as much on its cronies as it thinks it can get away with. The BoS probably hangs out and drinks with the union goons. The BoS are the great imposters. You can’t trust ’em any farther than you could throw ’em. And that goes for all 5.

  • emme1000

    We got a raise in 2009? Really? As I remember it the last increase we received was in 2007. Maybe the County is too embarrassed to admit that it has been 8 years.

  • LFOldTimer

    “The terms of the new deal also require that employees collaborate with management on ways to make the county run more efficiently and reduce taxpayer costs”
    Ha. And how exactly would a 4.5% immediate pay raise followed by another 2.5% pay raise a year later with three (3) $500 dollar payments to over 10,000 workers reduce taxpayer costs? ha. That’s one of the most moronic terms in a public employee bargaining contract that I’ve ever heard of. ha. Who makes this stuff up? So now that Berardino is gone the ones who have a fiduciary obligation to the taxpayers just roll over? ha. Hilarious. Bring Nick back for God sakes! Did you give them more holidays or vaca time too? Why not give them the same deal as the firefighters – a 24 hour 2 day work week and let them sleep at their desks? ha. Naturally this will boost the pension benefits too. Is there anyone left at the Hall of Administration representating the taxpayers or did they all go on vacation? Frank Kim acted so conservative as the Financial Director. Boy, did he ever turn on a dime! ha. Amazing how a promotion can change attitudes and convictions, isn’t it??? 🙂

    • KenCoop

      You sure do complain a lot.

      • LFOldTimer

        I like your sunglasses. Are they Foster-Grants? There, does that make you happy?

    • emme1000

      I wonder if you would feel that same way if you hadn’t received any increases or cost of living raises in 8 years. County employees work hard and have demonstrated commitment to you and your community…you should be more grateful instead of hateful.

    • Fernanda Pagnillo Morton

      You are clearly disconnected with how the County runs. Employees have sacrificed enough! It’s been 8 years without a raise. These are employees providing a valuable and needed service to our County and we have families to raise and bills to pay! Instead of blasting workers that must be paid for their work you should go to your Board of Supervisor members and ask why they pay $180,000 for a “party planner”!

      • LFOldTimer

        I’ll feel sympathy for you if you can show me one average worker in the private sector who is gifted with a 2.7 @ 55 pension with many paid holidays and free days – and exceptional salaries for the respective skill sets involved. Where else could a janitor get a 2.7 @ 55 pension. Name one janitorial form that dishes those out. If you can fulfill my request I’ll jump right on board with ya. Fair enough?

        • Fernanda Pagnillo Morton

          There is simply no evidence that pensions are a burden to public finances ( you can easily Google for stats). Pensions are largely paid by employee contributions and investment income. The problem doesn’t lay with public employees but with the greedy private sector where the profit stays in the hands of the few. There’s a great article on Forbes on how the U.S. fars behind on worker’s right. So instead of complaining about PE we should advance the right of workers and pull them up so people can continue to be able to provide for their families.

          • LFOldTimer

            “There is simply no evidence that pensions are a burden to public finances…”
            No idea where you get your information but I suggest you check the source. Who told you that? Your union rep? The entire State is in a pension bubble that is bound to burst during the next stock market crash that’s coming. A nation simply can’t sustain a ponzi scam by driving an economy with credit and debt. (see latest Omnibus Bill just passed by CONgress.) The House of Cards must tumble down – just like what happened in Rome. War normally doesn’t destroy a nation. The economy does. Debt is more destructive than a nuclear bomb. So do worker’s rights include the right to bankrupt local governments? ha. Is that a State Constitutional right or just one your local union made up? ha. Once the pension bubble bursts it’ll cost you $10000 to buy a loaf of wonder bread. Try to feed a family on that! Merry Christmas, Fernanda.

          • jim waldron

            Oh the chicken little theroy.

          • LFOldTimer

            “Yes you’re right on, you can get 2.7% and 55. But let me tell you what you will not get you will not get any social security”
            Even if one makes an annual income of $1M in the private sector the maximum social security payout is about $30,000 a year. But a County worker with an final salary of $75,000 (not hard at all after 30 years) collects over $60,000 for life starting at age 55. Social security payouts don’t start until at least age 62 with a huge discounted payout (about a 25% discount off the normal retirement amount). Normal retirement age for SS is about 66-67 these days – a full 10 years after County retirement. So please, do the math. Plus, in County government you can opt for an additional 401-k equivalent. And you have access to subsidized health insurance like anyone else when you retired frmo the County. So put the violin down. Do you think we were born yesterday? you don’t think we know people retired from county government? It’s not a secret society, you know. Word gets around. Give us a little credit. 🙂

          • jim waldron

            Listen if you make over a million dollars a year and you’re waiting for Social Security then maybe you shouldn’t be making a million dollars a year. Not sure which friends that you have in the county that are making over $70,000 a year unless it is John Moorlach. And if you feel that we have the gravy train then by all means meet the minimum requirements and apply at the county. It just sounds like enjoy a good whine. But the truth is OCERS is doing well.

          • LFOldTimer

            That’s a dodge, brother. You get my point. People drawing SS draw a MAX of about $30,000 a year. And if you don’t think MANY County government workers (line workers) make $75,000 or more a year after 25-30 years on the job you’re not very familiar with County government. Go look at the salary and benefit spreadsheet at the County website. You can find it at transparentcalifornia.com or at the State Controller’s website. It’s all in black and white. $75,000 salaries for workers with 25-30 years on the job is commonplace. I knew your final dodge would be “Then get a job at the County”. At that point you’ve lost the original argument. But thanks for playing . It was fun. Next time use better discretion when you select your opponents, ok? 🙂

          • Diego Vega

            Hey Beelzebub, you’re back! With the same erroneous extrapolations of statistics taken out of context, followed by egocentric claims of intellectual superiority. Can’t say we’ve missed you.

          • LFOldTimer

            Beelzel what? You must have me mixed up with Pancho Villa, Diego.

        • Dawn

          We have custodians? Last time I looked those jobs were outsourced to private companies. In any case, your argument is illogical at its base — and you know it.

    • Dee Dee Peralta-Armenta

      You are upset about what the raises the county employees are supposed to get?! You should look into how much of a raise the board of supervisors have given themselves every year that has passed. They haven’t gone without a raise like we have. And they also get car and gas allowance. And what exactly do they do? You are coming after the wrong people.

      • LFOldTimer

        So you’re saying Frankenstein gets a bigger pay raise than Dracula? Cry me a river.