Furloughs, other contributions secured while reaching long-term competitive contracts

City of Long Beach logoOn Aug. 20, the City of Long Beach announced tentative labor agreements with five of the City’s bargaining units. Each labor group voted overwhelmingly to ratify the tentative agreements.

Labor groups with which the City of Long Beach has reached tentative agreements include the Lifeguard Association (LGA), with 200 employees; the Long Beach Management Association (LBMA) with 350 employees; the Association of Confidential Employees (ACE), with 40 employees; the City Prosecutors’ Association (CPA), with 20 employees; and the City Attorneys’ Association (CAA), with 30 employees.

“City employees have been one of our greatest assets in supporting and protecting the public through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “It’s important to provide employees with a fair compensation package, and I want to thank these labor groups for working with the City’s negotiating team to develop an agreement that is forward-thinking and fiscally sensible.”

In recognition of the emerging financial conditions and uncertain times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the associations have agreed to include various labor cost-savings measures:

  • Miscellaneous employees will be furloughed for 26 days during FY 21 with an alternative option for critical positions on an exception basis. The furloughs represent a one-time 10% pay reduction.
  • Lifeguard, Police and Fire management sworn employees will have a vacation accrual reduction equivalent to 40 hours for employees on 40-hour work week schedules (48 hours for employees on a platoon schedule).
  • A new pension cost-sharing structure requires Classic Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) members who are sworn employees to contribute an additional 3% of their salary to help offset the employer portion of pension costs.
  • All agreements have a labor costing savings reopener clause in the event that the Mayor and City Council declare an economic emergency. This allows the City to re-open the MOU if the City faces further fiscal hardship.

The five tentative agreements include a phased-in approach for structural wage increases, tailored to each bargaining unit, which helps the City remain competitive with other public sector agencies. Each agreement also contains additional skill pays, non-pension-based compensation or equity salary adjustments.

“We thank employees for recognizing the fiscal situation and coming to the table with solutions,” said City Manager Tom Modica. “Their sacrifices allow the City to avoid further layoffs and retain City services while working to meet $11 million in savings during this time of fiscal difficulty.”

Tentative Agreement Terms

  • Miscellaneous employees: up to 8% general wage increase over four years.  Four-year contract term from October 1, 2019, to September 30, 2023.
  • Sworn Managers: 8.5% general wage increase over three years in alignment with previously-approved Police and Fire contracts.
  • Lifeguards: 8.5% general wage increase over three years. Three-year contract term from October 1, 2019, to September 30, 2022.

The tentative agreements also contain key benefits to enhance employees’ work-life balance during the pandemic and beyond. Enhanced benefits include:

  • New paid parental leave.
  • An additional City holiday.
  • Short-term and long-term disability insurance.
  • Vacation, holiday in-lieu and personal holiday accrual maximums adjusted to accommodate the City’s LB Coast HR system requirements.
  • And other benefit adjustments.

Negotiations with the remaining groups continue, with agreements expected to be reached and presented to the City Council shortly. In addition, the Council will consider a resolution applying the same proposed salary and benefit terms including the cost-savings measure to the unrepresented management employees. The unrepresented management employees account for approximately 47 employees.

Association of Long Beach Employees (ALBE) 
The Association of Long Beach Employees (ALBE) is the only miscellaneous group with a closed contract currently in place. To help generate cost savings and avoid additional layoffs, they agreed to renegotiate their closed contract to participate in cost savings through  furloughs and  by forfeiting their upcoming $1500 ad-hoc lump sum payment and taking six days (48 hours) of furlough time in FY 21.

The agreement will go before the City Council consideration and public discussion on August 25, 2020.