Contra Costa County Fire Protection District firefighters will begin to recoup some of their lost wages after taking a 10% pay cut during the economic downtown.
The Board of Supervisor action at the December 19 meeting finalized an agreement that firefighters will receive a 7.5 percent increase phased in over three years–the first salary increase since 2008.
The county has also agreed to gradual elimination of the 9 percent firefighter subvention of the employer portion of retirement—including an equal split between the District and firefighters for any increase to medical benefit premiums.
According to David Twa, this contract agreement there is a 2.4% savings in annual pensionable pay with first hire in year 1. It moves the fire consistent with what the county has done with other bargaining units moving the COLA from 3% to 2% under new tiers (Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act).
The three-year contract begins July 1, 2014 and will run through June 30, 2017. Firefighters are set to receive a 2.5% pay raise and in July 1, 2015, there will be an additional 2.5% wage increase and July 1, 2016 another 2.5% increase.
In addition, there are a number of changes which include workers compensation to bring them in line with other bargaining groups within the county. Firefighters agreed going forward that with health plans in Jan. 2016, each side will pay 50% of premium costs. It will also hold true of dental.
Effective Jan 1, the firefighters subvention will drop 3%. Effective Jan 1, 2016 it will drop another 3% and in Jan. 1, 2017 the final 3% will go away.
Supervisor Mary Piepho asked Chief Jeff Carman to touch on infrastructure developments and added revenue. She stated the struggle the County has had to get the firefighters up to median in terms of Bay Area firefighter pay but also wanted to see about further growing the district with equipment, machinery, vehicles and re-opening stations.
Chief Carman shared that they wanted to maintain a balance between what firefighters were being brought up in salary and being able to maintain the cost of the District saying they had not allocated money for several years to infrastructure.
“In the calendar year in 2015, our hopes remain that around January 17 we will reopen fire station 11 in Clayton and a squad added to Stations in Concord and Walnut Creek. Those will be the balance of the resources we restore this year. We have also able to allocate $1 million annually going forward in resources this year to replace 35% of our heavy fleet. We will also this coming year look at adding another $1 million to the rolling stock and developing a business plan,” stated Carman. “My goal in 2015 is make sure we are able to sustain the companies we currently have assigned. 24-engine companies and 3-squads. The goal is to hold with that and develop a business plan that in the future we can support the rolling stock (light & heavy fleet) and put money back into fire stations. Then, we hope in 2016-17 we will be possibly re-open a fire station or two.”
Piepho also stated part of the goal was to reduce the overtime fatigue experienced by firefighters.
Carman agreed with Piepho highlighting that they graduated another academy and set to graduate another 15-more in January and another 12-15 February 1. He thanked firefighters for supporting the District.
Vince Wells (President Local 1230) asked the Board of Supervisors to support this contract stating that since 2008, firefighters had not received any raises and took a 10% loss.
“Our goal in this contract was to get some of that back and in a timely matter,” stated Wells. “Also, one of the big issues is we pay one of the highest contributions to our pensions so we were able to get 7.5% of that back over 3-years as well as reduce the cost to our pensions which is significant. We understand we are coming out of this fiscal crisis and there are other needs besides us and we were understanding of that.”
Piepho thanked Wells for his leadership and continued service on behalf of the effort calling it hopefully a “win-win” on both sides.
Board approved 5-0.
In summary, those changes include:
- The term of the agreement is July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2017.
- Specific Personnel Bulletins (Shift Activities (1), Morning Change of Shift Assembly (2), Roll Call (3), Firefighter-Paramedic Classification (51A), Paramedic Licensure and Accreditation (51C), Removal from the District Paramedic Program (51D), and Fire Station Assignments (81) were incorporated into the MOU.
- Definitions (Definitions Section)
- Temporary employment was deleted from this section as Local 1230 does not represent temporary employees.
- Wages (Section 5)
- Effective the first of the month following adoption by the Board of Directors, the base rate of pay for all classifications represented by IAFF, Local 1230 will be increased by two and one-half percent (2.5%).
- Effective July 1, 2015, the base rate of pay for all classifications represented by IAFF, Local 1230 will be increased by two and one-half percent (2.5%).
- Effective July 1, 2016, the base rate of pay for all classifications represented by IAFF, Local 1230 will be increased by two and one-half percent (2.5%).
- Performance Appraisals (Section 5.3)
- Performance evaluations are required annually on or about an employee’s anniversary date.
- Fire Investigation Unit Off-Duty Standby Differential (Section 5.12.A)
- To be eligible for this five percent (5%) differential, the employee must be on-call to the Fire Investigation Off-Duty Standby Team at least ten (10) days per month and must have their schedule approved by the Fire Marshal, or his designee.
- Fire Investigation Unit Staffing (Section 5.12.B)
- The District may, at any time, consider the feasibility of changing the Fire Investigation Unit staffing to a 24-hour on-duty shift schedule. If, after considering the feasibility of this change, the District concludes that a 24-hour on-duty shift schedule is preferable to the current schedule, the Fire Investigation Unit staffing will be changed to a 24-hour on-duty shift schedule.
- Pay Warrant Errors (Section 5.16)
- Pay errors recovery time is six (6) months; repayment schedules for overpayments shall be no longer than three (3) times the length of time the overpayment occurred.
- Training and Prevention Differential (Section 5.17)
- Previously a side letter, the language has been incorporated into the body of the MOU. Employees in the classifications of Fire Training Captain (RPTE) and Fire Prevention Captain (RPTD), who are permanently allocated to the Contra Costa Fire Protection District Training Division and Fire Prevention Bureau, shall receive a monthly pay differential of ten percent (10%) of base pay.
- Temporary Staff Assignment Differential (Section 5.18)
- Previously a side letter, the language has been incorporated into the body of the MOU. Employees in the classifications of Firefighter (RPWA), Firefighter-Paramedic (RPWB), Fire Engineer (RPVC) and Fire Captain (RPTA), regularly working line assignments with a 56-hour work week schedule and who are placed in a 40-hour work week Temporary Staff Assignment are eligible to receive the ten percent (10%) hourly pay differential.
- Overtime (Section 6)
- Overtime calculation will include hours worked and non-worked hours such as leave hours or unpaid time off.
- Mandatory Recall (Section 7.1)
- If the District has not maintained 95% of minimum staffing as defined in Section 30, this provision does not apply.
- Days & Hours of Work/Timekeeping Waiver (Section 8)
- Define work schedules and eliminate the 12/80 work schedule; replace with “Kelly” work schedule.
- Local 1230 agrees to the implementation of an Automated Timekeeping System and waives its right to meet and confer regarding any impacts that may result from the County’s implementation of the automated timekeeping system, including but not limited to, changes to current departmental time reporting and pay practices. Local 1230 agrees to convert from the current payroll cycle when the county is able to upgrade the current payroll system or implement a new County payroll system.
- Holidays (Section 9)
- Language was added and deleted to clarify pay practices and time reporting for holidays.
- Sick Leave (Section 11)
- The employee may be required to provide a physician’s note upon return to work for all absences exceeding four (4) days for 40-hour personnel or three (3) days for shift (56-hour) personnel.
- Worker’s Compensation (Section 12)
- Align non-safety wage replacement to 70% standard.
- General Administration/Leaves of Absence (Section 13.2)
- Language updated to reflect twelve (12) weeks of FMLA.
- Health & Welfare, Life & Dental (Section 14)
- For the plan year that begins on January 1, 2016, the District will pay a monthly premium subsidy for each health plan that is equal to the actual dollar monthly premium subsidy that is paid by the District as of November 30, 2015. If there is an increase in the monthly premium charged by a health plan for 2016, the District and the employee will each pay fifty percent (50%) of that increase. For each calendar year thereafter, the District and the employee will each pay fifty percent (50%) of the monthly premium increase above the 2015 plan premium.
- Delta and PMI Delta Care
- For the plan year that begins on January 1, 2016, the District will pay a monthly premium subsidy for each health plan that is equal to the actual dollar monthly premium subsidy that is paid by the District as of November 30, 2015. In addition, if there is an increase in the monthly premium charged by a health plan for 2016, the District and the employee will each pay fifty percent (50%) of that increase. For each calendar year thereafter, the District and the employee will each pay fifty percent (50%) of the monthly premium increase above the 2015 plan premium.
- Dental Only
- Employees who elect dental coverage as stated above without health coverage will pay one cent ($.01) per month for such coverage. Beginning on January 1, 2016, the District will pay a monthly dental premium subsidy for each dental plan that is equal to the actual dollar monthly premium subsidy that is paid by the District for 2015. If there is an increase in the premium charged by a dental plan for 2016, the District and the employee will each pay fifty percent (50%) of the increase. For each calendar year thereafter he District and the employee will each pay fifty percent (50%) of the premium increase that is above the 2015 plan premium.
- In the event, in whole or in part, that the above amounts are greater than one hundred percent (100%) of the applicable premium of any plan, the District’s contribution will not exceed one hundred percent (100%) of the applicable plan premium.
- Retirement Dental Coverage (Section 14.11.A.2)
- For employees hired on or after January 1, 2015, no monthly premium subsidy will be paid by the District for any dental plan after they separate from District employment.
- Dual coverage (Section 14.12)
- On and after January 1, 2015, each employee and retiree may be covered by only a single District health and/or a single District dental plan, including CalPERS plans.
- On and after January 1, 2015, each dependent may be covered by the health and/or dental plan of only one spouse or one domestic partner.
- Retirement (Section 22)
- Effective January 1, 2015, each member in Tier A shall pay six percent (6%) of his or her retirement base to pay part of the employer’s contribution for the cost of the Tier A retirement benefit.
- Effective January 1, 2016, each member in Tier A shall pay three percent (3%) of his or her retirement base to pay part of the employer’s contribution for the cost of the Tier A retirement benefit.
- Effective January 1, 2017, the employee’s payment of three percent (3%) of his/her retirement base to pay part of the employer’s contribution for the cost of the Tier A benefit will cease.
- Uniform Allowance (Section 26)
- Language has been modified to reflect the current rate.
- Maximum Continuous Work Week (Section 29)
- Reduces maximum continuous work hours for Firefighters, Firefighter/Paramedics, Fire Engineers and Fire Captains from 120 to 96 work hours.
- Eliminates reference to a maximum number of continuous work hours for Dispatchers and Senior Dispatchers.
- Minimum Staffing/Two-Person Squad (Section 30)
- The minimum staffing in the Fire Protection District shall be 24 companies and 3 squads.
- Provided that the District shall maintain a minimum staff on all engines and trucks of three (3), the three shall be composed of: one (1) Fire Captain, one (1) Fire Engineer and one (1) Firefighter, of which at least one must be a Paramedic. Additionally, Squads shall be staffed by a minimum of two personnel to include one (1) Engineer and one (1) Firefighter, one of whom must be a paramedic. The District shall reduce two-person Squads before reducing three-person engines/trucks.
- Communication Center (Section 31)
- The District shall provide supervisor and dispatcher staffing to handle call and processing, incident dispatching, training and vacation relief. For 24-hour shifts described below, the District shall maintain staffing of five (5) dispatching personnel per day shift, one (1) of these five (5) will be a Senior Fire District Dispatcher; and four (4) dispatching personnel per night shift, one (1) of these four (4) will be a Senior Fire District Dispatcher.
- Effective January 1, 2015, or as soon as practical thereafter, center personnel will transition from the 48/96 schedule to the Kelly schedule. All 24-hour shifts shall be based on the Kelly schedule. Center personnel hired prior to January 1, 2015 may remain on the 24-hour shift schedule.
- Effective January 1, 2016, Fire District Dispatchers (REWA) and Senior Fire District Dispatchers (RETA) hired after January 1, 2015, can be moved to twelve hour shifts at the District’s discretion. After the District establishes twelve hour shifts, existing center personnel hired prior to January 1, 2015, may request to transition to the 12 hour shift at their option, however this transition shall be deemed permanent and they may not revert back to the 24 hour shift.
- Local 1230 agrees to re-open the contract to discuss the consolidation of County and Fire Dispatch operations.
- Paramedic Pay Differentials (Section 32)
- Language has been modified to reflect the classifications eligible to receive this differential.
- Scope of Agreement (Section 39.1)
- Any past side letters or any other agreements that are not incorporated into or attached to this MOU are deemed expired upon approval of this MOU by the Board of Supervisors.
- Sections Deleted
- Meet and Confer (Section 5.17)
- Home Garaging (Section 25)
- Paramedic Staffing (Section 33)