Municipal Employees Petition City Leaders For Fair Wages

Glendora City Hall

With negotiations ongoing and still no agreement reached, Glendora municipal employees petitioned the mayor and city council Friday afternoon, decrying unfair and unequal treatment.

Five copies of the petition were delivered to City Hall Friday, all signed by 68 of the roughly 90 members of the Glendora Municipal Employees Association, which has been working without a contract since February 1, 2015.

Municipal employees have worked without a raise since the 2009-10 fiscal year and have also been subject to unpaid furloughs from fiscal year 2010-11 to 2013-14.

With negotiations restarting this February, the GMEA has asked for a 2 percent pay increase in 2015 — which was the city’s last, best and final offer made last summer when impasse was reached, said Tris Carpenter, GMEA’s chief negotiator and a representative of affiliate union, AFSCME District Council 36.

“I don’t know why the City has treated GMEA so badly,” said Carpenter, who was assigned to the GMEA negotiations In February, 2016. In the years before he was assigned to the negotiations, Carpenter said other bargaining units in the city received raises except the GMEA.

This time, the city is reportedly refusing to offer any increase for 2015.

“Only GMEA was forced into taking furloughs. It’s abysmal.  No wonder the city has trouble recruiting and retaining employees,” Carpenter said.

At the beginning of June, city officials publicized a tentative agreement on a three-year compensation package for the Glendora Manager’s Association, the GMEA’s directors, which includes salary raises over a three-year period.

A special meeting on the GMA’s negotiations was pushed back from June 14 to June 28 to work out last minute issues, said Glendora City Manager Chris Jeffers.

In a written statement, Jeffers said “We remain committed to providing a fair and responsible compensation package for all our staff which can be financially supported and maintained by the City. That goal is part of an extensive list of financial policies that have been adopted and reaffirmed by multiple City Council’s each year.”

When a bargaining impasse was reached last summer, a fact-finding process conducted by the Public Employees Relations Board began and two of the three PERB members recommended an 18-month contract with a a 2.25 percent pay increase.

The city reportedly refused the 2.25 percent increase, according to AFSCME.

“These workers, the lowest paid employee group in the City (their salaries range between $30,000-$60,000 on average), have not received a raise in more than seven years, unlike their co-workers and management personnel,” AFSCME said in the written statement.

Jeffers said that the GMEA representative refused the 2.25 percent recommendation by the PERB panel majority.

In the dissenting opinion to the 2015 fact finding by PERB, the GMEA representative recommended a two-year term, from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017, a 7.95 percent increase effective October 1, 2015, additional equivalent COLA increases given to department directors and other incentives.

GMEA Representative Ralph Royds stated there were ample funds available to resolve the dispute, adding that the city had demonstrated the “ability to pay competitive compensation” and that the GMEA was willing to modify its last bargaining position if it could help reach an agreement.

“We have no reason not to strive towards providing competitive compensation packages for any group of employees.  However, we must live within our financial resources both for the immediate and long-term if we are to continue to provide quality services,” Jeffers said.

Both sides go back to the negotiation table Wednesday, June 15.