Costa Mesa to Workers: For your next contract, We’re Taking Everything Away!

Costa Mesa City Hall (Photo: City of Costa Mesa)

Costa Mesa City Hall (Photo: City of Costa Mesa)

Costa Mesa city employees, who have been working without a contract since March of this year, were greeted with an initial contract proposal from the city on Thursday, which would gut a contract that represents decades of consensus building, reduce take home pay for many employees by at least 15 percent, and allow the city to lay off employees with no notice.

The proposal is essentially a red-lined version of the employees current agreement with the City. Of the 22 contract provisions that employees and the City have mutually agreed upon during the past several decades, the City’s proposal would dramatically change all but one. None of the proposed changes would have a positive impact on employee compensation or other working conditions.

CMCEA President Helen Nenadal discusses Costa Mesa's draconian contract proposal with members at an emergency meeting (August 2013)

CMCEA President Helen Nenadal discusses Costa Mesa’s draconian contract proposal with members at an emergency meeting (August 2013)

“The City’s proposal is a reflection of how the Council majority views its dedicated employees—with contempt,” CMCEA President Helen Nenadal said. “We believe there is a better way, and our proposal will offer accountability for taxpayers, will honor your service, and will provide some common sense approaches to addressing challenges.”

The City’s proposal includes the following components:

  • Two year contract.
  • An immediate 5 percent pay cut for existing employees, and a 10 percent reduction in pay scale for newly-hired employees.
  • An additional 5 percent pay cut for top-step employees who do not receive an “outstanding” performance evaluation.
  • Increase retirement contributions immediately by more than 5 percent the first year, and more for the second year.
  • Employees pay all future health care cost increases.
  • Eliminate salary benchmarking with other public sector agencies. The City’s proposal purports to adopt a private sector approach, but admits that no comprehensive surveys of comparable private sector compensation exist.
  • Eliminate requirement that employees be given any advanced notice if they are going to be laid off, as well as any hire-back rights.

A full copy of the City’s proposal can be viewed by clicking here.

“This proposal is like nothing we have ever seen in our 76 years at OCEA and certainly something you’d never see offered by any other jurisdiction in California,” OCEA Assistant General Manager Jennifer Muir said. “This proposal is like a sucker punch. We’re frankly shocked and trying to digest it before returning to the bargaining table with some common sense ideas that we think could be productive if the City is willing to put extremist ideology aside and work together in the best interests of Costa Mesa and its residents.”

The Costa Mesa City Employees Association has launched a website for members and the public to keep track of contract negotiation developments, CostaMesaWorks.com.

  1 comment for “Costa Mesa to Workers: For your next contract, We’re Taking Everything Away!

  1. Ltpar
    August 9, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Keep in mind, it is called negotiations for a reason. Neither side ever comes in with it’s best offer at the start. Many times it takes months of tough back and forth hard ball negotiations to arrive at a final product. Of course with the new Costa Mesa policy, the City Council wants to play everything out in public, which is a poor way to do contract negotiations. Also, remember the City Council clowns are on the stage in the spotlight, playing to what they believe is public sentiment regarding Public Employees. At the same time, City Employees need to be running their own public relations campaign about the many years of quality service to the citizens and how the Council is in the process of destroying that. When the citizens in support of the empoyees outnumber those who are anti-employee, the contract negotiations will start to make progress. Good luck to the dedicated employees and condolences to them for having to deal with such a bunch of idiots on the City Council (majority). How long is it until the next election?

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