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MEA Begins Negotiations for New Labor Contract

MEA’s current four-year labor contract (also known as a Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU) expires on June 30, 2020.  Negotiations for a new MOU beginning on July 1, 2020 began last week between MEA and the City with an exchange of “non-economic” proposals.

MEA and your elected Negotiating Team recognize that our critical focus in these negotiations will be the “economic” subjects of bargaining (salary, benefits, flex allotment, etc.).  MEA and the City will exchange economic proposals on those topics in January.  Once that initial exchange occurs, the negotiations will begin in earnest and culminate in early April with either a tentative agreement or an impasse.

Your elected MEA Negotiating Team has already had multiple meetings with more meetings planned in December and early January to develop MEA’s economic proposals for timely presentation to the City on January 10th. Those proposals will reflect MEA’s central message that the City MUST make progress to close the pay gap for City of San Diego employees as compared to employees working for other jurisdictions in the region. The City’s own salary studies demonstrate and verify this pay disparity which results from years of pay freezes due to the Great Recession followed by the City’s illegal Proposition B “pension reform” ballot measure in 2012.

The impact of this pay disparity is undeniable.  City of San Diego jobs do not offer competitive pay and benefits compared to other cities in the County.  Recruitment and retention challenges abound in every City Department. Employees are leaving for higher pay and recruiting new employees is very difficult due to the City’s below-market compensation.  The number of vacancies in budgeted positions is growing with negative operational consequences for all remaining City employees and the citizens they serve.

This unsustainable consequence for City operations has the attention of the City’s leaders and there is a consensus that something must be done about it.  The question for these negotiations is whether the City is prepared to do ENOUGH and do it FAST ENOUGH to address these compensation challenges.

Be assured that — with your support — MEA intends to be VERY aggressive in advocating that the City must move as far and as fast as possible with respect to compensation increases.  MEA’s Negotiating Team is single-minded in its focus on this goal and we will not be reaching agreement or recommending acceptance of any City offers for a new MOU which does not represent meaningful and significant progress on ECONOMIC issues.

MEA’s Negotiating Team is made up of your elected representatives (three from each of MEA’s four bargaining units), as well as MEA’s Executive Board members.  MEA attorney Ann Smith and general manager Michael Zucchet lead the team with significant support from MEA’s entire staff.

MEA’s staff should be your point of contact for specific questions or ideas that you would like to convey to the Team, and you can and should also contact your elected Negotiating Team members directly:

Laralyn Asato
Jose Bantum
Tom Battaglia
Kathryn Campbell
Sam Cerrato
Michele Chicarelli
Andrew Davenport
Mary Enyeart
Sarah Erazo
Ina Gibson
Nick Haring
Francine Howell
Erika McNeill
Gabrielle Mead
Joe Miesner
Michael Prinz
Steve Ramirez
Anthony Rea
Jennifer Smith
Sammie Taylor
Greg Woods

As the negotiations process continues over the coming months, we will provide updates to bring significant developments to your attention.

In the meantime, please reach out to MEA staff or one of the Negotiating Team members listed above if you have questions or specific ideas or proposals you want to convey to the Team.