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City Council approves pay increases for largest employee union
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The Turlock City Council adopted a new contract with its largest employee union on Tuesday, approving a 4 percent salary increase for all members of the Turlock City Employees Association.

The Council voted 3-0 (with Mayor Gary Soiseth and Council member Amy Bublak absent) to adopt the new Memorandum of Understanding with the Turlock City Employees Association covering the period of July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.

The Council also appropriated $932,124 for the new contract, with $171,959 of that coming from the General Fund.

While the Council members present at the meeting voted unanimously to approve the contract, it wasn’t without question.

“In view of the timing, for whatever reason and I still don’t understand it, this particular negotiation took far longer than any of the others… Now that we are two weeks from having a new mayor and two new council members who will have to live with the results of these actions, I’m seriously questioning whether or not tonight is the appropriate time to advance this,” said Council member Bill DeHart.

Administrative Services Director Kellie Jacobs-Hunter said there was nothing that TCEA did to prolong the negotiations.

“It was just the City and our capacity to be able to negotiate with such a large group. And the reason why I think some of the other groups got done quicker is they’re much smaller…TCEA is our largest group,” said Jacobs-Hunter.

TCEA represents 149 of the City’s total full-time workforce of 350 individuals. Jacobs-Hunter also reminded the Council that the contract will be up for renegotiation in six months time.

“Considering it is a one-year agreement and six months were actually under our jurisdiction, I believe we are still duly elected representatives and have an obligation to make right with our employees…It’s a large figure, as many things are that come through this dais, and there’s that sticker shock obviously when we you see $1 million for an item. But there’s been a careful process that we have all gone through…I think it would actually benefit the incoming Council to not to have to deal with this right off the bat, to give the two new members about a six-month breathing room, time to get  acclimated to how things work here and tune in to the incoming negotiations they will have to take on,” said Vice Mayor Matthew Jacob.

Along with the 4 percent base salary increase, retroactive to July 1, highlights of the new contract include:

  • Continuous service pay in the amount of 1 ½ percent of base salary at 10, 15 and 20 years of service. A maximum of 4.5% can be earned beginning with the 20th year of continuous service.
  • Safety footwear reimbursement allowance was increased from $150 to $250.
  • The City has agreed to provide 40 hours of in-lieu time during the Christmas holiday.