Lee’s agreement with 26 labor groups follows tense negotiations, S.F. workers’ pay to rise $41M 

click to enlarge Organized outcry: Labor unions representing city and county workers had held several rallies in recent months demanding raises after years of concessions. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner File Photo
  • Organized outcry: Labor unions representing city and county workers had held several rallies in recent months demanding raises after years of concessions.

Labor negotiations between Mayor Ed Lee and about 18,000 nurses, dentists, lawyers, managers, and other city and county workers resulted in the employees’ compensation increasing by a combined $41 million during the next two years, according to an analysis by the City Controller’s Office.

Against the backdrop of looming budget deficits, but an improving local economy, Lee negotiated contracts with 26 union labor groups. The talks’ outcome will provide the workers with a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment that will go into place in two years.

The deals were reached after months of negotiations in which union leaders held highly publicized worker rallies, circulated petitions and posted videos online fighting against concessions and demanding pay bumps.

In the upcoming 2012-13 fiscal year, the 18,000 affected workers will receive a combined $3.5 million pay increase. The remaining pay hike, for $37.5 million, will come in the subsequent fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2013, and represents a 1.75 percent increase in compensation. This group of workers — which doesn’t include police, fire or Muni — represents about $2 billion in salary and benefits.

The negotiations did result in some savings for The City from changes to employee health and dental benefits. San Francisco will now pay just 90 percent of a single person’s health premiums instead of 100 percent. The savings are factored into the cost estimates.

The contracts were approved Thursday by the Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee and will be voted on Tuesday by the full board.

Martin Gran, employee relations director for the Department of Human Resources, said it is hoped that the negotiations represent the conclusion of a difficult budget period for the city and county.

In 2008, Gran said, these workers lost out on raises when “the bottom fell out of the economy” and The City sought concessions during the past four years. “Labor came through in each of those years,” Gran added.

Most recently, labor gave up 4.62 percent in the current 2011-12 fiscal year and also backed a pension-reform measure that is resulting in pension contribution rates increasing between 2.5 and 3.5 percent next fiscal year.

The labor contracts are included in Lee’s two-year budget proposal, which is currently under review by the Board of Supervisors. The proposed $7.3 billion city and county budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 adds 695 more positions, for a total of 26,878 workers, which will grow by another 172 workers in the subsequent year.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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