City makes final offer to union

DOWNEY - The city of Downey submitted its "last, best and final offer" to an employees union on Tuesday after the two sides failed to agree on a new labor contract following seven months of negotiations.Members of the Downey Public Safety Auxiliary Association, which represents 48 non-sworn police and fire department personnel, have worked without a contract since Oct. 31, 2010. The city offered a new contract that maintains pay and benefits for current workers but requires new employees to pay their entire 7% share towards CalPERS, the state's retirement system. New employees would also pay an additional $5 ($10 total) for their Kaiser HMO co-pay. In a memo to City Council members, human resources director Irma Youssefieh noted the city's $6.4 million budget deficit, attributable to declining sales and property taxes, and "anticipated increased employee retirement costs just to name a few operating cost factors." "The City believes there are long-term systemic costs issues that a change in the economic cycle and any upswing in revenues will not address," Youssefieh wrote. City officials claim they submitted requests to continue negotiations from May 3 through June 28 but the union "did not respond to inquiries or demonstrate a desire to proceed with negotiations." The union filed a complaint with the California Public Relations Board on June 21 alleging the city was not negotiating in good faith. On Aug. 17, the city received notice that the union was rejecting the city's latest offer. Meanwhile, the union's complaint with the CPRB was withdrawn on Sept. 14.

********** Published: November 24, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 32