LONG BEACH — City officials announced Tuesday that they had reached a tentative labor agreement with the Long Beach Police Officers Assn., the last of three major city employee unions working under contracts that expired June 30.
The tentative agreement with the police union calls for what amounts to a 12.5% raise over three years, said Bill Storey, the city's personnel director.
The 650-member police association was scheduled to vote on the proposed contract today. If approved, the contract will be submitted to the City Council for final approval Tuesday, Storey said.
The other two unions that have reached agreements with the city are:
- The 2,000-member City Employees Assn. (CEA), which on Monday ratified a proposed three-year contract that calls for a 13.7% raise. The contract is scheduled to go to the City Council Tuesday for final approval.
- The 450-member Long Beach Firefighters Local 372, which unanimously ratified a three-year contract July 1 calling for a 12.5% raise. The contract was approved July 8 by the City Council.
Under the proposed CEA contract, office workers would receive a cumulative raise slightly higher than raises given to police and firefighters. That is because of the way the raises are compounded, Storey said.
In the first year of the proposed CEA contract, those workers would receive less money up front than police and firefighters, Storey said. Also, police and firefighters are receiving some increases in the form of payments to a pension plan that actually cost the city less money than normal salary increases, Storey said.
In both the police and firefighter contracts, workers will receive a 10.5% salary increase. In addition, the city will assume police and firefighters' shares of payments to a state pension plan that amount to 2% of the employees' annual salary, said Storey and union officials.
The arrangement benefits both the city and its employees, Storey and union officials said. When the city makes payments to employees' pension funds, workers do not pay taxes on those benefits, they said. In addition, they said, the city avoids paying other benefits that usually accompany salary increases, such as Social Security, unemployment insurance and workers' compensation.
A key feature of the proposed CEA contract is a pay-equity study of city workers. The study was agreed to after the union originally sought a study to address disparities in salaries between male and female employees.
Women Paid Less
A city study last year found that women employees in Long Beach are paid about 72% of the median income of male employees. About 26% of the city's employees are women.
Both Storey and CEA General Manager Walter Miller said in separate interviews that the pay-equity study will not specifically address disparities in pay between men and women. It is hoped, however, that the issue will be resolved by the study on a case-by-case basis, they said.
"If there are those kinds of things (pay disparity based on sex) they are going to be addressed and resolved" by the study, Storey said.
The city has tentatively agreed to earmark $1.4 million in salary and benefit increases that would be awarded to employees who are determined to be inequitably paid. Most inequitably paid city employees are women, Miller said.
Under the proposed contract, the study would be done by a consultant hired by the city and would affect 50 job classifications and more than 1,000 workers who are CEA members, said Storey and Miller.
The union has 2,000 members but represents 3,000 workers, including office workers, refuse, water and gas workers, and some Port of Long Beach employees.
The proposed police contract would create a new job classification of specialist that will allow 80 veteran police officers to receive more money.
Specialists, equivalent to the rank of corporal, will receive an extra 10% in salary over veteran patrolmen, said Doug Drummond, president of the Police Officers Assn.
Patrolmen with 3 1/2-years' experience now earn $31,452 a year. Under the proposed contract, that figure would be boosted to about $35,380, with specialists earning about $38,920.
Chosen by Exam
Police specialists will be chosen by competitive civil service exams, Drummond said. They will train other officers, work as assistant detail heads in the detective bureau and do other jobs that require more responsibility, Drummond said.
The police association had sought the additional classification to achieve salary parity with city firemen, Drummond said. Firefighters have a similar classification of engineer who, under the new contract, will earn $41,076, said union President Harold Omel.
Firefighters with 3 1/2-years' experience now earn $34,560. When the new three-year contract expires in 1989, that salary figure will be boosted to $38,880.
Under the proposed CEA contract, an office supervisor earning $36,000 a year would have his or her salary boosted to $40,932.