Special Message from MEA’s Negotiating Team RE: the Extension of the MOU Through 6/30/12
MEA and the City have reached a tentative agreement on a one-year extension of our current MOU through June 30, 2012. On the Mayor’s recommendation, the City Council recently approved the terms of the extension in closed session. The City Council’s formal adoption of the extension by Resolution will be docketed if the MEA membership ratifies the terms of the extension.
The one-year extension maintains the same overall 6% reduction in compensation as has been in effect during the past two years of MEA’s current MOU. However, if ratified by the MEA membership, there will be a change in how that 6% reduction will be accomplished as follows:
Mandatory 3% Reduction in City-Paid “Pick-Up”
Every MEA-represented employee hired before July 1, 2009, will have a 3% reduction in their City-paid retirement offset or “pick-up” effective July 1, 2011. This means that the City will stop paying 3% of these employees’ required retirement contribution and the employees themselves will begin paying this 3% for retirement on a pre-tax basis.
Getting 3% Back In Exchange for 3% Pick-Up Reduction
Because this 3% reduction in the City-paid “pick-up” is mandatory and not an option, each employee who was hired before July 1, 2009, will be entitled to eliminate one of the economic concessions which had been in effect during the period July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2011. By getting one of these 3% items “back,” the same total 6% compensation reduction will be maintained.
Accordingly, in addition to the mandatory 3% pick-up reduction, each employee must select only one of the economic concessions from those which were in effect during the past two years to achieve the 6% required: (1) the SPSP 3% Mandatory Match Waiver; (2) a 3% Pay Deduction; or (3) a 52-hour unpaid furlough. The employee’s choice would be memorialized in the same manner and on the same terms as applied previously during the period July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2011.
For example: An employee hired before July 1, 2009, may choose to continue his or her 52-hour unpaid furlough but not the SPSP 3% Mandatory Match Waiver. Another employee may decide the opposite – stop the 52-hour unpaid furlough and have this money restored to his/her paycheck for FY 2012 but continue the SPSP 3% Mandatory Match Waiver. An employee who had taken the 3% Pay Deduction may decide to get this 3% back in his or her paycheck but continue the 52-hour unpaid furlough.
The terminal leave benefit will be eliminated effective July 1, 2011.
No Other Changes
There will be no other changes to the current MOU.
Retiree Health Benefit
Pursuant to Article 22 of MEA’s MOU, negotiations are in progress and will continue over the Retiree Health Benefit. These negotiations will lead either to an agreement or an impasse hearing before the City Council on April 12, 2011. If the parties are at impasse, the City Council may vote to impose the Mayor’s “last, best and final” offer related to changes in the Retiree Health Benefit which would become effective on July 1, 2011. If the City does so, Article 22 of MEA’s current MOU recognizes MEA’s reservation of its right to sue over the prior suspension of the annual escalator as well as over any other imposed changes in this benefit which are unlawful.
Ratification Process: Team Recommends “YES” Vote
Your elected Negotiating Team is recommending a YES vote on this MOU Extension despite the hardship these continued economic concessions cause for MEA-represented employees and their families. Because two other bargaining units have previously agreed to similar contract extensions on terms less favorable than the ones proposed in our tentative agreement, the Team simply recognizes that MEA is not in a realistic position to end these economic sacrifices at a time when another budget shortfall looms for FY 2012. Agreeing to this extension also provides MEA-represented employees with some protection from the more draconian cuts to employee compensation being discussed by some at City Hall.
Arrangements are in the works for a ratification vote on March 22nd at multiple locations. Watch for more details to follow soon.