The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors came close to declaring an impasse in negotiations with a coalition of its five large public employee unions, which would have resulted in the imposition of higher pension contributions and pay cuts across-the-board of 3.2 percent. In response, hundreds of county workers recently packed the board’s chambers to protest the cuts and there were over three hours of testimony. Consequently, the board ended up delaying a decision on imposing a contract and instead will allow talks to continue until the board’s next meeting. Contra Costa County Administrator David Twa informed the board there was reason to believe a deal could eventually be reached. The Contra Costa Times reports on further background info:
“In 2009, the coalition was the first set of unions to accept wage and benefit cuts. Workers took unpaid furloughs and the county capped its contribution to health premiums. The county settled with its midlevel managers in September after threatening to impose their contract. The union members agreed to 2.75 percent pay cuts and will pay more for their benefits.”
The county is looking to save $20 million a year and does not want to cover workers' increased health insurance costs, which has led to bitter opposition. The five unions subject to the negotiations are the Public Employees Union Local One, Service Employees International Union Local 102, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Locals 2700 and 512 and the Western Council of Engineers---all of which have over 4400 county employees.