East Bay Parks Pact Calls for 9.5% Salary Increase Over Four Years

July 3, 2013 · 15 comments

A tentative agreement between the East Bay Regional Park District and the union that represents most of its employees averts a two-day strike that had been planned for Thursday and Friday, district and union officials said today.

Carol Johnson, the park district’s assistant general manager, said the pact means “the public can fully enjoy the holiday weekend in our parks this weekend.”

Cliff Rocha, a park ranger who is president of Local 2428 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said union negotiators are recommending that members approve the new four-year contract in a vote that will take place soon.

The union represents more than 600 rangers, naturalists, supervisors, firefighters, lifeguards, clerical workers and other employees.

The park district has 65 regional parks in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Johnson said the two sides have been in contract talks since February and finally reached the tentative agreement about 9 p.m. Monday after what she described as “quite a long discussion” in what was to be the last mediation session.

Johnson said the contract provides a 9.5 percent salary increase to park district over four years, which she said is more than double management’s original salary offer to employees in February.

She said the district initially had asked employees to contribute to their health care costs but ultimately agreed to continue paying for full family medical coverage.

However, Johnson said the union agreed to have employees contribute an additional 4 percent of their wages to help pay for their pensions, bringing their total contribution to 8 percent of their wages. Rocha declined to comment on the specifics of the tentative agreement because the union hasn’t yet presented it to its members.

But he said he believes it’s a fair agreement that addresses the union’s goals for wage increases and retirement and health care contributions. Rocha said employees’ take-home pay has “eroded” during the economic downturn but the new contract will allow them to “share in the recovery” that is bringing more revenue to the park district.

The union’s threat to strike on Thursday and Friday wouldn’t have shut down the district’s parks but it would have disrupted swimming, boating and other activities at some of the parks.

The union’s previous contract expired on March 31. The park district declared an impasse in contract talks two weeks later and a mediator was called in to assist the two sides.

The new contract will be retroactive to April 1. Park District General Manager Robert Doyle said in a statement that the tentative agreement is “a fair contract that provides meaningful wage increases to our employees and employee contributions to retirement costs.”

Doyle said, “We’ve averted a strike on the Fourth of July and can assure the public that the regional parks, campgrounds and water facilities will be open and fully-staffed.”

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1 Let's Go Oakland July 3, 2013 at 9:09 AM

I hope they get what they are asking for without compromising too much.

I’m really not looking forward to hearing the public chime in with how these folks should be “lucky they have jobs”, “I don’t make that much so they shouldn’t”, “their job is so easy,” blah blah blah… me me me…

2 Killjoy July 3, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Damn. All these union people crying for more money.
I’d like more money too! But I work for a small company that is dependent on contracts coming in, in order for money to go out.
If the amount of people visiting the parks (and paying admission) isn’t increasing, where are they getting the funds for this?
If they keep raising the admission prices to where people can’t afford to go to the parks, these people are going to give themselves a raise right out of a job.

3 WC44 July 3, 2013 at 9:14 AM

So they went from paying 4% to 8% for pension. BART employees want to stay at contributing 0%. (Pension currently costs 17% of salary, all contributed by BART.)

4 Larry July 3, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Not to split hairs, but it looks like they will not be contributing to their own retirement for the next four years. From Local 2428 website:

“We will begin making contributions to our retirement at the end of the contract, keeping us in compliance with state law, and we maintained our healthcare benefits.”

http://www.afscme57.org/local2428/index.cfm?action=article&articleID=0a0d5d0e-e161-4e35-8062-d689cf22073e

5 Chris July 3, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Just like the BART workers you guys need to just appreciate that you have a job and be grateful not greedy!

6 Go away Oakland (#1) July 3, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Ok here goes.. These employees are selfish. They should be happy they’re working at all! They make more than they’re worth, having a simple job to do. I’m tired of my tax money going to overpaid public servants with excessively compensated benefits packages. BOOM

7 nytemuvr July 3, 2013 at 11:06 AM

I don’t think they’re trying to be greedy, it sounds to me that’s a fair offer. Rangers are proactive in their jobs and have to police, handle drunk campers, hands on kind of stuff. Those jobs aren’t sitting on their butts. Campgrounds aren’t what they used to be when I was young, lots of crime going on in campgrounds now.

8 Antler July 3, 2013 at 11:15 AM

But keep in mind that these employees, because of the large numbers of park service personnel laid off a couple of years ago, are actually TRYING to do the work of several previous employees. Did they receive either a pay raise or more benefits the last time they signed a contract?

It’s usually not a simple “give them the ax because my own job is worse and pays me less” type of thing, folks.

9 Random Task July 3, 2013 at 11:48 AM

last I checked you didn’t have to work for anyone …..if you do not like it go somewhere else …..and yes the parks are paid for by us so to say oh we get to enjoy the parks now that they bent over …puckshaw ….we pay for em and the people who decide to work there work their or they leave …we didn’t hold a lotto and say hey loser you have to work where we say you have to ….stop making excuses for those who decided to work somewhere and now do like like the wage…. next the people who work the fast food will picket and want more pay and less hours …..then what everyone will picket and want more pay we all want to get paid more for what we do that is why America is falling short to many winers and not enough people who do their job and if they do not like it go find another job ……unions have created lazy workers who picket for more when they refuse to do more for themselves …..dems and unions have created a lazy nation who punish the working and tax paying people…… by making their lives miserable so they bend over and agree to their terms ………but most do not mind since they always vote dem so stop your crying and deal with your own decision to be towed around by politics who think you can not take care of your self

10 Let's Go Oakland July 3, 2013 at 12:11 PM

@6

How do you contribute to society?

11 HippieDream July 3, 2013 at 12:11 PM

@#7, the last time I went camping in a campground, the fleet of mega-trailers pulled in and I woke to a tattooed sausage fest fueled by alcohol, x-rated rap music, and brandished firearms. A few of us complained and the “Power” Rangers did nothing. It seems you have to contact the CHP if you are in need of assistance. Needless to say we left the campground. Other than occupying a Ranger Station, I see no need myself.

12 Always Right July 3, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Another monopoly government union extorting the public.

Welcome to the people’s republic of California.

13 EBRPD worker July 3, 2013 at 12:37 PM

To clear up a few things:

#4, We already contribute to our pensions. It’s only the last 1% of the additional contribution that won’t be effective until the end of the contract.

#2, The majority of revenue comes from property taxes, not park admission and fees.

#8, You are correct. Fewer employees are now doing more work. And it really is manual labor in most cases. While you sit in your A/C, we’re working outside.

Our last contract was a pay cut, which we accepted because the economy was hurting. Now that things are improving, is it unreasonable to want that back? Seriously, folks, if you want to do what we do, apply for a job. We’re hiring.

14 Mad Mom July 3, 2013 at 2:53 PM

When the unions are thriving, so will the rest of labor. Look throughout history. It’s a domino effect. Sometimes, try to look at the BIG picture. Isn’t it time we all got a bigger piece of the pie?

15 @Mad Mom July 3, 2013 at 3:28 PM

I’m glad to see that somebody gets it.

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