On Dec. 8, the Cerritos City Council met and faced public comments from members of AFSCME District Council 36 Local 619.
According to a press release issued that day, by American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the Public Employments Relations Board issued five unfair labor practice charges to the City of Cerritos.
Public Comments - AFSCME
According to the press release, “City negotiators have once again arbitrarily and prematurely called an end to bargaining over new contract terms for Part-Time City Employees, refusing to meet with Union negotiators, or even to respond to their counter-offers. Instead, the City has walked away from the bargaining table.”
The press release goes on to say that the city is trying to force a 7 percent pay cut on part-time employees. On Nov. 22, city negotiators delivered its Last, Best and Final Offer.
According to Gary Guthman, the union negotiator for part-time employees, the Last, Best and Final Offer entailed a one-year contract with a 7 percent pay cut for all part-time staff no matter how long they've worked with the city. Employee input was not considered and an impasse was declared.
“We have three tiers of part-time wages now, and the city's current proposal, I believe, is proposing a fourth tier,” Guthman said. “Salaries for the beginning rates would go under $9 an hour.”
Guthman said the bargaining team decided to offer a compromise that maintains current wages while agreeing to lower new hire rates to which city negotiations have yet to respond.
Also speaking on behalf of AFSCME, John Nieto urged the council to show some recognition to the part-time employees who have been with Cerritos for a significant amount of years.
“What's right is that an employee who has worked here, even if he is a part-time employee, or she is a part-time employee, they worked here for 20 or 30 years, most people would think they deserve something,” Nieto said. “The something might be one day off a year or two or a day and a half.”
City Manager Art Gallucci said the city appreciates its hourly employees and what they do. He continued by comparing statistics on how much Cerritos city employees are paid compared to other regional cities. Cerritos ranks high, if not the highest, in senior lifeguards, senior center specialists, secretary receptionists, library pages, school crossing guards, parking enforcement, account clerks and library assistants.
Denise Magoogian, the city's Director of Administrative Services, tried to shed light on the subject of part-time employees paying for their own Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) – as brought up by that evenings public comments - by explaining that part-time employees are put in a 7 percent higher salary schedule than full-time employees, while being asked to pay for their own PERS. This offsets any difference in what full-time employees would be paying.
In Other News
The council approved reports for Fiscal Year 2010-2011 and the Annual Report of the Cerritos Redevelopment Agency for Fiscal Year 2010-2011. Delivering the fiscal report was Kenneth Pun, a partner with the accounting firm Caporicci & Larson. Mayor Carol Chen was pleased with the city's “clean bill of health.”
The next city council meeting will be held on Jan. 12.