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Pleasanton Council to vote tonight on new $2.45 million firefighters contract

Agreement provides 3% raises in each of next 4 years

The Pleasanton City Council tonight is expected to ratify a new 3-1/2-year contract with unionized firefighters in the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department that provides 3% pay increases each year over the next four years.

The contract won the tentative approval of the council two weeks ago when it was introduced at a public hearing. Except for two firemen, the council chamber was empty at the time of the hearing with no objections from the public or members of the council.

At tonight's second public hearing, the Memorandum of Understanding between the International Association of Firefighters Local 1974 and the city of Pleasanton will be considered again for a final time.

A favorable vote by the council would seal the contract, due to expire June 30, 2018. Since the department operates under the Joint Powers Authority of both Pleasanton and the city of Livermore, the City Council, of Livermore also will need to ratify it, probably at a meeting next week.

The contract covers all employees of the department through fiscal year 2017/2018 at a cost of $4.9 million, to be shared by the two cities. Pleasanton's share will be $2.45 million.

As part of the proposed agreement, union members also will increase payment of their pension contributions by an additional 3% during the term of the contract, for a total contribution of 12% at the end of the 3-1/2-year agreement.

The contract, negotiated over the last six months, covers a total of 104 sworn fire personnel, and replaces an earlier contract that expired last June 30. The portion of Pleasanton's obligation for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, is approximately $170,000 in unbudgeted costs, which will be paid out of the city's General Fund.

The two public hearings on the contract follow Pleasanton's practice of introducing the key elements of a new contract in order to receive input from the public and allow for open discussion prior to adopting the agreement, which the council is expected to do tonight, explained Julie Yuan-Miu, assistant city manager and the chief negotiator during the contract deliberations.

The Memorandum was reviewed and ratified by the IAFF membership and the Livermore City Council gave its informal approval last month.

The new contract will be retroactive to last July 1. It will replace the previous two-year contract in effect from Jan. 1, 2012, to last June 30. Because of the recession at the time that contract was written, there were no cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments included.

However, that contract called for all employee groups, including firefighters, to start contributing 9% of their salaries to the CalPERS retirement program, and implemented a reduced retiree medical program for new employees.

The new contract, effective from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2018, will provide 1% COLA increases starting this past Jan. 1, again in July, and then again on July 1 of 2016 and 2017.

Unionized members of the fire department will begin paying 10-1/2% of their salaries toward retirement with "classic" employees who are not in the union to start paying 12% by 2017.

The council meeting will be held starting at 7 p.m. in the Pleasanton Civic Center, 200 Old Bernal Ave.

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