FAIRFIELD — Solano County has approved a labor agreement with its largest employees union, removing the threat of a strike.
The agreement is with Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents more than 1,600 workers. The workers will get a 2 percent raise in October and a 2 percent raise in October 2014. The present contract expires Saturday.
Raises will cost more than $10 million over two years, with $2.6 million coming from the general fund, a county report said. The remainder will come from Health and Social Services and other county funds that pay for a portion of some employee salaries. These funds get federal and state money.
“This has been a long and difficult negotiation,” Board Chairwoman Linda Seifert said Tuesday, before the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the contract.
She wanted the county to do as much as it could for employees, while also recognizing the economy is coming out of a recession and the future remains unclear, Seifert said.
“We never want to be in the position of doing those kind of layoffs we were forced to do several years ago,” Seifert said.
Brian Lee, field representative for SEIU Local 1021, said the contract has a solid wage increase. But union officials don’t think the increase is commensurate with increased county revenues, he said.
“We deferred to our members on the contract,” Lee said.
The votes came by units, with about half the overall membership taking part in the vote last week. Units 2, 7 and 9 approved the contract 353-116, Unit 5 approved it 138-114, Unit 8 approved it 33-10 and Units 82, 87,89 and 90 approved it 15-3.
That’s a 2-to-1 vote in favor of the contract. But, Lee said, a 12-vote swing would have changed the outcome for Unit 5.
Supervisor Skip Thomson proposed returning a floating holiday to employees. He called it a “good-will gesture” to say that, though the county can’t give employees all the money they want, it can do this. He didn’t get a second to bring his motion to a vote.
Solano County in July passed a 2013-14 budget with an estimated $14 million general fund structural deficit. The county has yet to release data on how rising property values and the new union contract will combine to affect that estimated structural deficit.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.