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June 28, 2011 > Agreement moves county closer to labor cost savings

Agreement moves county closer to labor cost savings

CEMA - Santa Clara County's middle management union proactively agrees to help save services

Submitted By the Santa Clara County Public Affairs and CEMA

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors ratified an agreement, on June 22, 1011, approved by members of CEMA/OE#3, AFL-CIO, a union representing over 1,600 middle managers within Santa Clara County, to save almost $27M over two years, or $13.4M, annually.

"We greatly appreciate the sacrifices made by CEMA employees to help lower costs and save services for county residents," said Supervisor Dave Cortese, President of the Board of Supervisors. "These employees are public servants in the truest sense."

The agreement includes a variety of cost-saving solutions to help the county manage a budget deficit totaling $219M. Of the total anticipated savings, 86 percent will come through an increase in CEMA members' salary contributions to their pensions. These savings will accrue immediately as CEMA member contributions replace a sizeable portion of the county's required payment to the California Public Employee Retirement System. The new contract goes into effect the week beginning June 27, 2011.

The agreement is the result of CEMA's proactive effort to present responsible and sustainable solutions to the county before the official start of collective bargaining. Other solutions contained in the agreement include creating new efficiencies in the health coverage plans offered to CEMA members.

"We're extremely proud that we were able to take the initiative, bargain collectively and actively pursue an agreement that not only saves the county an estimated $27M but also builds upon a solid foundation for continued collaboration between CEMA and Santa Clara County," said Amando Cablas, Ph.D., President of CEMA/OE#3, AFL-CIO.

"Early action on this agreement by CEMA means the county will be closer to achieving its target of $75M in General Fund labor cost savings for the fiscal year that begins July 1," said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith. "We still have some way to go and are cautiously optimistic that reason will prevail so we can achieve the savings needed to keep the budget balanced."

The Board of Supervisors also approved an action that mirrors the CEMA Agreement for confidential, administrative employees. This group of employees is not represented by a union. The savings achieved for the confidential employees total $2M for the two-year period, or $1M, annually.

On June 7, the Board of Supervisors accepted a series of proposals from County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith that will reduce executive managers' salaries by six percent next month while increasing their share of payments towards the cost of benefits, for a total reduction in compensation of 8.95 percent. The annual savings of these changes total $3.1M.

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