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Negotiations and Budget Update, February 17, 2021

Dear MEA Members,

We want to share a brief update on both the City budget and on negotiations for the new Memorandum of Understanding.

January kicked off the upcoming budget season as Councilmembers submitted their priorities and the Department of Finance released the Mid-Year Budget Monitoring Report.

It is not surprising that this is an extremely challenging time for budget discussions with City revenues down as a result of the pandemic. However, with both the budget and negotiations, it is still early in the process and key information is still pending. As always, there are paths forward and MEA’s staff, Officers, Executive Committee, Negotiating Team and Board members are fighting hard for you.

Review of Councilmember Budget Priorities Memos Released, Call for Pay for Employees

In memos that shared their priorities for the upcoming FY 2022 City Budget, 8 of the 9 Councilmembers supported pay increases for City employees. They also acknowledged the uncertain times by giving direction regarding how budget cuts should be handled, if needed. At the moment, both of these are possible outcomes but City revenues will become more clear as it gets closer to the April 15 release of the Mayor’s Proposed Budget.

We have been monitoring budget documents and sharing our insights with the Mayor’s Office and Councilmembers on how to balance the important priorities of the City. We will continue to do so. As we build back from the pandemic, we can do it right by also doing right by employees.

MEA Shares Opening Economic Contract Proposals with City, Still Many Steps in the Process

Earlier this month, the Negotiating Team shared MEA’s opening economic proposals with the City. We set forth proposals for increases to begin to address the pay disparities between San Diego City employees and their peers in other local jurisdictions. This includes across-the-board general salary increases, Special Salary Adjustments, Certification Pay, and more. In short, if it’s been discussed in the last year, it has been included in MEA’s opening proposals. If you have questions, please contact your Labor Relations Officer.

MEA’s proposals set the course toward competitive compensation that works to address the City’s recruitment, retention, and vacancy issues. Now we just need to help the City find the money to get things started. Both MEA and the City are closely monitoring events in Washington DC with the potential COVID relief legislation being debated in Congress, which could have a meaningful impact on the City’s fiscal situation.

Again, there are many steps in both the contract negotiation and City budget process still to come but we will continue to keep you posted as things develop and come to a conclusion later this Spring.

Have questions? Need assistance?

Your MEA Labor Relations Officers are here for you! Don’t hesitate to reach out to info@sdmea.org or 619-264-6632.