BY DUANE W. GANG
STAFF WRITER
dgang@pe.com

Published: 08 December 2011 03:17 PM

The Service Employees International Union Local 721 has been vocal in its opposition to pay and benefit cuts imposed on members by Riverside County supervisors.

The union is challenging the county’s declaration of an impasse in the contract talks, and in rejecting the county’s final offer last month, authorized a strike as a potential job action. As county officials prepare for a possible work stoppage, here’s a look at some of the key differences between offers presented by both sides:

The county presented its final offer for a three-year contract early last month. Among the details:

  • Starting July 1, 2012, a 2.71 percent step raise will be “re-introduced for those employees who are qualified” for the pay boost.
  • Starting July 1, 2012, add an additional step increase to all SEIU job classifications, meaning even employees maxed out and at the top of their respective pay scales would receive the 2.71 percent increase.
  • A provision for employees to begin paying more toward their retirement. Employees paid 8 percent of their salary toward retirement for the first five years of employment. After that, the county covered the costs. In the offer, employees would pay 3 percent starting Dec. 1; and an additional 3 percent in July 2012, and 2 percent more in July 2013, bringing the total to 8 percent.
  • A second tier of lower pension benefits for newly hired workers. The new tier would provide 2 percent of salary for each year of service at age 60, rather than the current 3 percent at age 60 formula. Plus, retirements would be based on the highest average three years of pay, rather than the highest single year.
  • A fairness agreement stating the SEIU members would receive the same across-the-board pay and benefit increases given the Laborers’ International Union of North America members and management and other non-union employees. The agreement would not apply to the “restoration of any previously negotiated or imposed considerations including but not limited to wages, flexible benefits contributions, 401(a) contributions, step (merit) increases or any other term and/or condition of employment that had been deferred, imposed or negotiated in prior or future MOU’s/Resolution.”

On its website, SEIU posted a summary of its final counter offer, which is found here. Among the provisions:

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