It’s Time To Put Community First
We held our first negotiations with the City of Chula Vista on Thursday, March 7th. CVEA met with the City management in the morning and the MM/Pro unit met in the afternoon.
At each meeting, we agreed with City Manager Jim Sandoval and the management that it is important to place our negotiations in the context of public service and making our community better. A safe and better community means investing not just in public safety, but in our parks, libraries, environmental conservation, public works, planning, and the other valuable work we perform.
Almost 70% of the general fund goes to public safety. That leaves only 30% for all of the other important work that contributes to our community’s quality of life, including supporting the work of public safety. It is time to create a fairer and more equitable investment in our contributions to Chula Vista. We have worked harder with less and average about 40% of the staffing of other comparable cities. We’ve worked hard with less and for less. Now is the time to right the course and put people first in Chula Vista.
We are optimistic that we can work together with City leadership to reach a fair and equitable agreement that meets the City’s needs and respects its employees. Now, the task is to agree on a strategic approach that achieves our shared goals.
WHAT ARE OUR GOALS?
- We agreed that all employees should receive fair compensation. We focused on the issue of parity, both within the City workforce and among an agreed upon peer group of comparable agencies and municipalities. All of us lost raises in the past several years and had our take home pay reduced by 8% when we lost the pension offset (whereas others received the 8% offset in their pay). We also need to address the irrational compaction of salaries so that there is an internally coherent salary structure.
- We want to make sure that the peer group to which we compare ourselves is not based simply on a narrow labor market, but reflects comparable cities with similar jobs and cost of living. We proposed that we look beyond San Diego County and include Orange and LA Counties.
- CVEA and MM/Professional employees also receive less flex benefits than Senior Management and Executives. We understand why our salaries are less, but we do not believe it is reasonable to place less value on our families – which is the consequence of investing less in our access to affordable healthcare.
- CVEA and MM/Professional employees also want to make sure Professional Development funds are adequate and can actually cover the costs of continuing education. We believe this adds value to our city, but it needs to be funded and managed in a way that works for us.
- Lastly, we are proposing that CVEA become an agency shop. It is not consistent with Chula Vista’s commitment to employee accountability to allow some employees to receive representation and benefits at the expense of other employees. Chula Vista would not allow taxpayers to voluntarily opt out of all taxes but still receive all of the benefits; neither should CVEA/SEIU 221.