Contra Costa County and its deputy sheriffs union have been at odds over contract negotiations with both sides struggling to find an agreement that is amenable to all parties. The county is looking to secure concessions; specifically, a 2.8 percent pay cut, retirement plans that are less costly for new hires, as well as higher deputy contributions for insurance premiums and pensions. While other unions have agreed to concessions, deputies have not, which has resulted in other labor groups pressuring the local government to push for the changes so that deputies face the same wage and benefit cuts that other workers have had to experience. If the deputies were to agree to the aforementioned concessions, the county could save $4.8 million this fiscal year in a $1.2 billion annual budget.
But talks haven’t gone smoothly, so the county declared an impasse recently. Instead of imposing wage and benefits cuts right away, the county has called for a one-week delay to allow talks to continue. It is not yet clear if the delay means there is an opening for a potential agreement. Mercury provides background:
“Deputies have been working without a contract since 2008. The parties had made little progress until last summer, when the county's contracts with nearly every other union expired and talks ratcheted up. […] But deputies are loathe to see their wages drop. A recent salary survey, paid for the sheriff's association, found Contra Costa County's deputies are the lowest paid among their peers in the Bay Area. As an incentive to settle rather than impose the contract, the county is offering the deputies a less costly insurance deal.”
There are 770 sworn and nonsworn members of the Deputy Sheriffs Association. If terms are imposed, then it would fall under a one-year contract.