Fremont and SEIU enter mediation

Fremont has new contracts with its police and fire unions (both of who took cuts equivalent to 4.5 percent of salary), but no deals with its non-sworn unions.

I talked earlier this week with SEIU, which represents the peons who make about 50 – 60k a year.

They say the city wants them to also take a 4.5 percent cut. But they think that’s unfair because money is tighter for them than it is for cops and firefighters, make roughly double.

They’re also made that last year, they went on furlough, while cops never agreed to giveback salary, and firefighters gave a smaller proportion of their salaries than those who were furloughed.

SEIU has countered the city’s offer with a proposal to take four additional furlough days — a 1.5 percent cut.

Both sides were scheduled to sit down with a state mediator this week.

Meanwhile,  the union has proposed several cost-saving proposals to the city. To read their proposals, click where it says to click:

  1. 1.      Suspend Payment of Deferred Compensation.  Potential Savings: $340,000


Deferred compensation is a supplemental retirement benefit provided to employees in the form of a tax shelter. The City already provides retirement benefits for its employees- “deferred comp” provides an additional and unnecessary monetary benefit above and beyond what is already offered. The City could save $340,000 by suspending deferred comp payments.    


  1. 2.      Freeze Vacancy Positions.  Potential Savings: $1 Million.


The City could save over $1 Million by freezing current vacant budgeted SEIU positions. These vacancies have designated funding tied to them that can instead be used towards addressing the fiscal challenges facing the City’s budget shortfall.


  1. Eliminate or Reduce Long-Term Temporary Employees.  Potential Savings: $2 Million


The City needs to (1) thoroughly examine the roles and responsibilities of long-term temporary employees, (2) eliminate or reduce those positions and (3) reassign the work of long-term temporary employees to existing employees who are at an affordable wage level. The City should be looking at how to eliminate or reduce long-term temps to avoid having higher paid retirees do the work.    


  1. 4.      Suspend Vacation Cash-Out.  Potential Savings: $450,000


Currently, the City allows its employees to cash-out their vacation time. Long-time City employees have accumulated hundreds of hours in vacation time. By suspending cash-out benefits, the City could have a potential savings of $450,000.     


  1. 5.      Suspend Tuition Reimbursement Citywide.  Potential Savings: $60,000


City employees have the opportunity to take advantage of tuition reimbursement programs however the City cannot afford to provide such non-essential benefits when many City employees are facing wage cuts. Our city employees should not have to pay, through wage cuts, non-essential benefits. As we face economic challenges, the City needs to prioritize livable wages and essential benefits for those who provide critical public services. 


  1. 6.      Reduce Overtime Citywide.  Potential Savings: $5 Million


Overtime costs the City of Fremont over $5 Million. Although we understand that essential services require overtime, proper schedule adjustments would address the exorbitant amount of overtime the City pays its employees. As the City faces limited resources, government must create efficiencies to reduce wasteful spending in order to mitigate the negative impact on our local economy.

Matt Artz