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CSD, employees reach impasse after negotiations

By From page A1 | July 17, 2013

The majority of 23 El Dorado Hills Community Services District union employees showed solidarity by attending the board meeting July 11. The union and CSD declared impasse June 28 after the two parties couldn’t agree on the new employee contract that was to go into effect July 1. Several employees voiced their frustration that the CSD’s new employee contract isn’t good enough, namely that one contingency should be off the bargaining table.

Highlights of what the district called its “last, best and final” proposal include 100-percent payment of both the employee and employer share of CalPERS retirement costs and a salary increase of 3 percent on July 1, 2013 (retroactive once the contract is ratified). Employees will also receive a 3 percent raise July 1, 2014 and on July 1, 2015.

However, the contingency states that should CalPERS raise their rates more than 5 percent above the overall rates it charged last fiscal year, the CSD will give the employees a 2.5 percent raise instead of the full 3 percent.

The potential half-percent difference makes a big difference, though, said employees at the meeting. Union president Terry Halvorson spoke first. “The contingency thing hurt us,” he said.

Several employees said it’s more morale bursting than about dollars and cents. Administrative assistant Judy Klein explained she does her work because she loves it. As an hourly employee, she said she gives it her all and stays after hours because that’s the kind of employee she is. “But this makes us not feel valued,” she said of the contingency caveat.

Youth and adult sports director Frank Sianez said the potential half-percent loss does add up to big money and made that point when he offered an analogy to describe what it’s like to not get a pay raise in five years.

“What if you made the same amount when your child was in eighth grade as when he went off to college?” he asked. “That’s five years in between. Not only is there now college for that parent, but water, gas, medical costs and food have gone up astronomically in the past five years.”

Throughout the evening the employees referred to the half-percent difference as being equal to $7,000, a number the CSD said is without merit.

There was also grumbling about the CSD’s reported $5 million in reserve. Wishing for “complete transparency,” the CSD explained after the meeting why they can’t meet the union’s wishes. “The union publicly raised its concern with the fact that the district currently maintains $5 million in reserve. The district has identified its reason for doing so, including financial commitments which will come due in the future totaling $11 million.” From needing 15 percent of operating costs in reserve to $384,789 due toward future employee retirement liabilities, several commitments were itemized.

CSD Human Resource Manager Tracey Lynn Lowry said, “They’ve been offered a good deal. A lot of community services districts, including Folsom, are actually cutting salaries right now and most employers do not pay 100 percent of CalPERS contributions.”

The district also cited other employee perks, like how employees may opt for $1,150 cash monthly should they not need medical benefits. They also said employees get four additional paid days between Christmas and New Year’s Holiday, which tacks nearly 2 percent more on to costs.

In the end, Sianez and others personally promised to recoup the half-percent deficit by continuing to be excellent employees as well as bring in more revenue for their programs.

Because the two sides have declared impasse, the union has petitioned for a mediator.

Julie Samrick

Discussion | 3 comments

  • CSD EmployeeJuly 15, 2013 - 8:24 pm

    Where was the Union's input for this article? The HR rep references Folsom as taking pay cuts. I wish our salaries were even close to theirs. My position pays 4 dollars an hour more in Folsom. In 2012 Folsom had 135 employees out of around 400 making more than 100k. Our highest paid union employees here at the CSD have salaries in the mid 60k range but the majority of us make far less. 1/2 percent for someone making 50k equates to $250 dollars a year. There are 23 of us in this small district. Do the math. It's not a burden to the district and it's not even likely they would even need to exercise this contingency so why have it? We haven't had a raise for 5 years and have lost 1/2 our staff in that time. When you equate out the 3 year term of the contract with what we are asking our raises would work out to 1.125 percent a year over an 8 year period. That doesn't even keep up with the cost of living. We have great employees here that are good at what they do. We know our customers well and we go out of our way to serve the community as efficiently as possible. We are anxious to get this contract signed. We think it's fair for both sides.

  • Another CSD EmployeeJuly 16, 2013 - 5:39 pm

    It is true that we have an overall very good benefit package. But this obviously is "really" not about money on both sides of the bargaining table. Us employees are considering it as another slap in the face by a Board that claims to respect the CSD employees. The Board is using this just as another way to have the upper hand over the employees. It would be another thing if the employees were asking for thousands of dollars per year per employee, but we are just asking for a very small gesture. Even the most anti-Public employee activist should be able to see that this is not going to break the bank. Over the past five years we have done MUCH more with MUCH less which has enabled a seamless change to CSD operation in the Public's eyes, many programs and activities have been greatly improved and/or expanded, the parks and facilities are in excellent condition. It is very evident that ALL employees take great pride in their jobs, and will continue to do so regardless of the outcome of this impasse. So why not award us with miniscule amount of money? This burdon to the General Fund can easily be replaced by the deligence of hard working employees who both make money and save money for the CSD through creativity and dedication? In closing it would be nice if the Board, through their infinite transparency, could openly illustrate how the employees are off the mark per the following: "Throughout the evening the employees referred to the half-percent difference as being equal to $7,000, a number the CSD said is without merit." Also the Board should explain how the four additional holiday days "...tacks nearly 2 percent more on to costs." Legitimate explanations and illustrations of these claims could help in reaching a settlement amongst some, if not many, of the employees.

  • Concerned CitizenAugust 08, 2013 - 12:52 am

    Interesting. Recently, there were three comments on this article. Now there are only two. Did the third comment delete itself? This is curious and unflattering. Many people saw the third comment prior to its mysterious disappearance. Posters are unable to delete their comments. Interesting indeed.



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