San Luis Obispo County has notched off one its major goals in pursuing “long-term” savings through labor negotiations.
On March 22, SLO County supervisors unanimously approved a two-tier pension system for the “big unit” of the SLO County General Employees Association, the county’s largest public employee union. It’s part of a three-pronged approach county officials are taking with all major bargaining units: lesser benefits for new employees, even splits in pension cost increases between employer and employee, and reforming the county’s prevailing wage ordinance.
Among the changes, new employees will receive benefits on 2 percent of their salary for every year they work if they retire at 60 years old. Current employees receive 2 percent at 55. New employees will also receive a 2 percent cost of living adjustment as opposed to the 3 percent current employees enjoy.
According to a county staff report, the tiered system will eventually save the county $15 million to $20 million per year in payroll costs.
County supervisors commended SLOCEA for helping shore up the county’s annual budget deficits. Supervisor Adam Hill said that in a time when it is “fashionable to beat up public employees and demonize unions,” SLOCEA has stepped up to help. ∆