Council gives contract extensions to police and fire, gets furloughs in return

JESSE B. GILL Staff Writer
Posted: 01/19/2010 08:35:54 PM PST

REDLANDS – After months of a grueling negotiating process, the City Council approved contract extensions with three holdout labor groups in exchange for furlough days.

The council voted unanimously Tuesday to extend labor contracts for the Redlands Police Officers Association (RPOA), the Redlands Professional Firefighters Association (RPFA) and the Redlands Association of Fire Management Employees (RAFME) through 2012. Contracts for all three associations were due to expire in 2010.

In exchange, the labor groups agreed to furlough hours through 2012.

“I think what we came to was agreeable for both sides,” said RPOA President Derik Ohlson.

The RFPA and the RAFME agreed to give 90 unpaid furlough hours per employee per year through 2012. The RPOA agreed to 65 furlough hours per employee through the end of the 2009/2010 fiscal year on June 30. After that, RPOA members will give up 90 furlough hours each year through 2012.

Members of all three unions will also defer pay raises through 2012.

The agreement is expected to save $1,677,580 to the City’s General Fund through June 30, 2012, according to a press release issued by city spokesman Carl Baker.

RPFA president Bill Conway said, from his association’s perspective, the deal was beneficial from both sides.

“I’m glad that we were able to come to an agreement and find a cost savings for the city,” he said. “I think it will help in current and future (budget) deficits.”

In February 2009, the RPFA offered to forego a median pay raise to help the city save money. In return, the union wanted a contract extension. The offer sat on the table until Tuesday night.

Talks between the RPOA and city labor negotiator Steve Filarsky also stalled out in October when the union’s attorney, Robert Wexler, wrote a letter accusing Filarsky of having a “condescending attitude” toward the contract talks.

Direction from the City Council led to an agreement with the labor groups, Filarsky said Tuesday.

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