Approval has been given to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Riverbank Miscellaneous Bargaining Unit and the City of Riverbank for one year. The MOU is retroactive to July 1, 2017 and will expire on June 30, 2018. It passed 5-0 at the Riverbank City Council meeting at the end of November.
Assistant City Manager Marisela Garcia who was involved in the bargaining from the beginning gave the report to the City Council and the public. Negotiations will commence in February or March of 2018 on a new deal.
The Miscellaneous Employees Bargaining Unit was established in 1972 and is currently comprised of 26 active employees including clerical and field personnel. The MOU that was in effect previously expired on June 30, 2017 which brought the city and the unit to a labor negotiations meeting held in January. The City’s financial status was a huge factor on the direction of the negotiations regarding the wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment with the bargaining unit. The two parties did not reach an agreement prior to the expiration of the contract on June 30. A tentative agreement was reached on Aug. 10 that the bargaining unit agreed to which was to carry over the prior agreement: The City agreed to extend the prior agreement until June 30, 2018, subject to a reopener on employee contributions towards next year’s 2018 health care plan and reopener on health care. Both parties agreed to reopen sections to discuss health insurance premium costs.
“Currently the city covers 85 percent of that out of pocket cost,” said Garcia. “What that means is for a family we cover $11,100 a year in out of pocket costs and for a single person we cover $5,550. So the City will no longer be covering those out of pocket costs for the employees.”
She explained that the employees will receive a one-time bonus of $1,000 that can be taken as a direct payment through the payroll process or they may have the city set the bonus aside to be reimbursed for some of their medical out of pocket expenses, which will be taxed.
“All other benefits will remain the same and all other terms in the MOU will remain the same with the exception of two updates that the City wanted to make sure we included in that MOU and we did clarify some language for a $250 stipend that employees who are hired prior to July 1, 2005 received the stipend and the stipend can only be used towards deferred compensation or if they have a gym membership and only if they had single coverage at that time and they remain under single coverage during the term of this agreement are they eligible for that,” Garcia added.
The second update that Garcia noted was that the city contributes to LIUNA Pension Fund on the employees behalf.
The financial impact for the contract is net insurance savings for the current fiscal year 2017-18 in the amount of $24,200. The one-time bonus cost to the city will be $26,000 with a slight additional cost of $1,800.
“For the future there are funds that will become available to the City to re-appropriate to different projects because they will not be allocated towards health insurance,” stated Garcia. “These are the direct costs of the out of pocket costs that were being covered by the city for the employees and their dependents.”