Hi everyone and hope you are well. MEA would like to provide some updates related to the City’s new COVID-19 rules as well as other related issues:
New City Policies
The City has updated its “COVID-19 Protocol” (attached) effective Monday, April 6. The changes will have no impact for many employees, but substantial impact on some employees. These changes were not negotiated by MEA — they are the City’s new policies that are an attempt to 1) comply with new State and Federal laws that have come about in the wake of this crisis and 2) respond to the City’s new budget and operational realities. A summary poster provided by the City is also attached.
MEA has and will continue to advocate for changes to the City’s policies where needed and possible. Please contact MEA (see contact information below) for any questions or assistance related to your work situation and any changes that you are concerned about related to the City’s new protocol. Our Labor Representatives are working around the clock with hundreds of individual MEA-represented employees on a variety of issues. Please call us if you are in need of assistance or just have questions about your rights or options.
City Budget and Contract Negotiations Update
As we updated you in our last E-blast, labor contract negotiations have effectively been on hold for the last few weeks. However, the Mayor and City Council will be meeting in closed session on Tuesday, April 7 to provide direction to the City’s negotiating team, and MEA’s Team will meet soon after that to discuss options. Clearly, the world has changed dramatically since we began these negotiations focused on recruitment and retention and the City’s pay disparity with other jurisdictions.
The City’s budget situation is now in crisis, with revenues plummeting since mid-March and expected to continue to fall as many parts of the economy are literally shut down. Hotel tax revenue has gone to close to zero and sales tax revenue is a fraction of what is was just weeks ago. We continue to engage with the City on a daily basis about the budget situation, the City’s economic assumptions that will form the basis of its FY21 proposed budget, and various ways we believe the City should address the fiscal circumstances it finds itself in.
Many employees are asking us 1) are pay raises still possible given the current crisis? and 2) will there be layoffs of City employees as a result of the budget situation? The answer, unsatisfying as it may be, is that it is still too early to tell. We expect to have answers to both questions (or at least a pretty good idea of where things are headed) within the next two weeks, when negotiations are likely to come to a head and the Mayor releases his proposed budget for the FY21 fiscal year (expected to be released on April 13).
Of course we are fighting hard to help the City find other means to balancing its budget other than layoffs, furloughs and other potential “solutions” that fall on employees. We hope we will be successful in those efforts. The City has substantial emergency reserves and a number of budget line items that should be cut as a result of the City’s plummeting tax revenue. To the extent this remains a shorter-term “shock” to the economy (and tax revenue), the City should be able to address the fiscal impact without draconian cuts.
As we said earlier, we will know more in the coming days and weeks and will keep you posted as much as we can. Know that we are very engaged and laser focused on the importance of these outcomes and the implications of the City’s budget process on employees.
MEA Staff continue to work and assist members in any way possible. Please reach out to MEA at 619-264-6632 or email@example.com if you need general assistance with anything. In addition, here are the office extensions, emails and cell phone numbers of MEA representatives and the City departments they represent:
Labor Relations Manager
619-264-6632 ext. 110
Purchasing & Contracts
Senior Labor Relations Representative
619-264-6632 ext. 118
Parks & Recreation
Transportation & Stormwater
Labor Relations Representative/Gov’t Affairs
619-264-6632 ext. 117
Labor Relations Representative
619-264-6632 ext. 101
PUD – Water
Labor Relations Representative
619-264-6632 ext. 120
PUD – Wastewater
Know that we will all get through this and that MEA will be here to support you in every way we can. Please contact us with anything you need.
4.1.20 protocol (2)