By Joe Nelson
joe.nelson@ inlandnewspapers.com @SBCountyNow on Twitter
Posted: 04/18/2013 07:35:56 PM PDT
The president of the union representing San Bernardino County’s prosecutors, deputy public defenders and child support attorneys has threatened a strike if the county continues imposing concessions he said are not on par with other counties.
While salaries for county supervisors are in line with other Southern California counties of comparable size, and county CEO Greg Devereaux is the third-highest paid in the state, San Bernardino County prosecutors, on average are paid $1,000 a month less than prosecutors in Riverside County, said John Thomas, a county prosecutor and president of the San Bernardino County Public Attorneys Association.
County spokesman David Wert said in a news release Thursday that the county negotiated in good faith with the union for two years, and the imposed concessions, unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, will save taxpayers $3.6 million over the next 14 months.
The union locked horns with the county in April 2011, four months after it began renegotiating the terms of its labor contract. The impasse was reached after the county firefighters union agreed to concessions that included employees picking up the 7 percent of what the county had been paying into their retirement and taking a 50 percent cut to their annual step increases – from 5 percent to 2.5 percent.
But the firefighters’ union agreed to the concessions only on condition that the county’s other bargaining units agreed to the same concessions.
The Public Attorneys Association is the only union that has so far not agreed to the concession package. In July 2011 it filed a complaint with the Public Employment Relations Board, and now it plans on filing a lawsuit. Members may even plan a strike, Thomas said.
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