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New SEIU, Santa Barbara City Agreement Equal to 6% Salary Reduction

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SANTA BARBARA, CA - City negotiators reached a tentative agreement today for labor concessions with City’s largest bargaining unit, represented SEIU Local 620.  The agreement, equivalent to a 6% salary reduction, will provide almost $2 million in labor cost savings in the coming fiscal year, almost $1 million of that in the General Fund, and will restore twenty-one jobs to the budget. 

Under the agreement, each General Bargaining Unit employee must take 116.5 hours of time off without pay (unpaid furlough) during the next fiscal year, and will again give up the vacation cash-out benefit provided under their labor contract. 

The agreement also restores positions for twenty-one General Bargaining Unit employees that would otherwise have faced layoff or displacement. 

The agreement comes as the Council prepares to adopt a budget for the new fiscal year that will address an $8.9 million budget gap.   The City has sought concessions from all of its employee groups to help address the problem.  Talks with the Police Officers Association, the Firefighters Association, and the Police Management Association are ongoing.

Unlike the Police Officers Association and the Police Management Association, whose labor agreements expire this month and who are required to be in active labor negotiations with the City, SEIU Local 620 had a valid bargaining agreement through September 2010. This is the second year in a row that SEIU came to the table voluntarily before the expiration of the labor agreement to offer concessions.  In fiscal year 2010, employees took 104 hours without pay and no vacation cash out. 

  “SEIU came to the table early in a problem-solving mode”, said Kristy Schmidt, the City’s Chief Negotiator.  “Our talks have been ongoing since January.  We appreciate the willingness they showed to understand the depth of the problem, and to be an active part of the solution.” 

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