Four Hollister unions will save the city about $30,000 this
fiscal year after agreeing to forgo a

cost-of-living adjustment

previously negotiated into their contracts.
Four Hollister unions will save the city about $30,000 this fiscal year after agreeing to forgo a “cost-of-living adjustment” previously negotiated into their contracts.

The deal comes a month after the City Council salvaged 12 jobs that were on the chopping block. Council members have since said they want union concessions in return, as Hollister faces millions of dollars in projected shortfalls in the next few years.

City Manager Clint Quilter announced the agreement Tuesday and added that Hollister will continue negotiations for further sacrifices from employees.

Cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) are based on the Consumer Price Index, which rose by only .5 percent this year, Quilter said.

The four employee groups include unions that together make up more than half of the city workforce, including the Service Employees International Union.

The police and fire unions were the only two not involved with the deal. Firefighters do have a COLA in their contract; police officers do not.

Mayor Tony Bruscia – the lone council member to vote against retaining the 12 workers – was pleased with the deal.

“It’s an important step in the right direction,” Bruscia said. “It’s great to see them making the effort to help and step up to the plate.”

The SEIU members voted 24-2 in favor of the COLA agreement, according to President Luis Aguilar. From SEIU’s perspective, no other concessions are on the table right now, he said.

“We want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem,” Aguilar said.

But Bruscia hopes for more union rollbacks in the near future, he said, particularly from the police and fire employee groups.

Those agencies’ unions both are set to receive retirement plan boosts in 2005 that would cost the city about $1 million a year. So far, the two unions have rejected the idea of forgoing those, Bruscia said. Though he noted the Fire Department has shown interest in offering some sort of concessions.

The money saved through the deal is less than $58,000 Hollister employees would have cost the city by requesting and gaining a day off to mourn President Reagan’s death. The police and fire departments later indicated they would forfeit their compensation time for the day, subtracting about $26,000 from the loss.

Bruscia compared city government with private companies – saying that businesses in dire economic times don’t hand out pay and benefit increases.

“They don’t give out pay raises. They don’t give out benefit raises,” Bruscia said. “They do opposite. They make employees pay more.”

Previous articleCommunity solutions wins $125,000 grant from Lucille Packard Foundation
Next articleTry telling them they aren’t speaking Swiss
A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here