City, union haven’t signed contract |

City, union haven’t signed contract

A contract reached between Grass Valley and a city employee union more than seven months ago has yet to be formalized.

The delay has caused some of the nearly 40 employees, including sewer water, parks and clerical employees, to voice concerns. A city employee also claimed the proposed contract language cementing the three-year agreement reached in December has changed.

A union representative “discovered the City of Grass Valley changed some of the language in the 2007 contract” after the union employees read and signed onto the contract back in December, one person wrote to The Union.

Both the union leader and the city’s human resources director said that’s not true.

“That’s totally false,” said Gary Winegar, representative for Local 39 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, based in Auburn. “If there’s any changes, we do a meet-and-confer with the city,” which hasn’t been necessary, he said.

“I’m not aware of any practices that are different than the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding),” said city Human Resources Manager Michael Lewis.

But seven months is too long for the formal agreement, one person posted on The

Union’s Web site.

“The delay is mainly because they’ve had three different representatives,” Lewis said referring to the employee union.

Winegar, whose tenure representing the city employees began in early March, agreed that changing representation slowed the process.

Agreement gives raises

The agreement calls for 11 percent in cost-of-living increases over nearly four years:

A 3-percent raise retroactive to July 2006, increases of 4 percent beginning in July, 2

percent in late June 2008 and another 2 percent in late December 2008.

Also, the agreement increased the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) benefit from 2 percent at age 55 to 2.5 percent at age 55. The increase means the most tenured government employees can retire and make a larger percentage of their highest salary in retirement.

All the city’s employee union contracts expired in July 2006. The city’s various unions, which represent 119 employees, agreed to work under the terms of the expired contract until new contracts were reached, Lewis said.

Police officers, police management and firefighter unions reached accords early this year with the same cost-of-living increases, Lewis said. Also, firefighters’ pension benefits increase in July 2008 from 2 percent at age 55 to 3 percent at age 55.


To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail or call 477-4234.

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