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Cities confirm new contract with LPFD firefighters

Local 1974 members to receive series of raises, cover more pension costs

Livermore-Pleasanton union firefighters have a new contract in place with the two cities, as both city councils have given final approval to a memorandum of understanding highlighted by four salary increases over the next 3-1/2 years, along with some union members covering an extra 0.5% of their pension costs starting in mid-2020.

Pleasanton, which partners with Livermore for firefighting services under the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department, saw its City Council sign off on the contract last week after voicing initial support one month earlier.

Pleasanton's approval occurred without comment as part of a 4-0 vote on its consent calendar on Jan. 15, with Vice Mayor Karla Brown absent. The Livermore City Council approved the MOU one night earlier, also as part of the consent calendar.

The new MOU, which runs through December 2021, was ratified in November by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), Local 1974, which represents 104 LPFD employees in all -- 99 in fire suppression and five in fire prevention.

A successor agreement to the MOU that expired June 30, the new contract includes a series of raises for union members starting with a 3% increase this month, followed by another 3% increase in July, a 3.5% increase in July 2020 and a 1% increase in July 2021.

Another key provision sees IAFF Local 1974 members classified as "classic members" for pension purposes (those already in the California Public Employees' Retirement System as of January 2013), contribute an additional 0.5% toward their pension costs for a total of 12.5% overall, starting in July 2020.

In other benefit changes, all active union employees will pay a minimum contribution of $50 per month for family medical coverage starting in January 2020.

The agreement also creates extra compensation of $100 per month for employees who voluntarily keep and maintain their paramedic licenses when promoted to the ranks of fire engineer or fire captain -- higher positions for which paramedicine is not considered a core function.

There's new education incentives too, an extra $25 (for $75 total per month) for union members with an associate's degree and an extra $50 ($150 total per month) for those with a bachelor's degree.

Additionally, the MOU includes a variety of language changes considered operational in nature and without cost implications, according to Pleasanton city staff.

In all, the new agreement is estimated to cost an extra $5.5 million across the entire 3-1/2-year term, with Pleasanton's share estimated at $2.8 million for the full term. Pleasanton's additional costs for the current budget year is about $411,000, to be paid from general fund contingencies.

Seasonal wages

In other consent business Jan. 15, the Pleasanton City Council adopted new hourly salary ranges for seasonal and part-time employees in positions that are not represented by unions and typically work only eight to 30 hours per week.

According to city staff, seasonal wage overhaul was two-fold: to update salaries with California's minimum wage increasing to $12 per hour (up from $11) and to make sure the city remains competitive with neighboring jurisdictions.

The jobs with new hourly wages include lifeguard ($13.55 to $16.55), recreation leader ($12.16 to $14.08), apprentice or intern ($12.24 to $14.17), preschool aide ($12.47 to $14.44), program assistant ($12 to $40) and clerical assistant ($12 to $20).

The total costs of the increases are estimated at $71,091 per year, of which $18,275 is due to the minimum wage increases mandated by the state.

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