The study — agreed to during recently completed contract negotiations between the city and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 10 — will consider the salary and benefits received by employees of cities that have similar facilities and revenue and a similar population to Patterson.
City Manager Rod Butler said half of the study’s $10,000 cost will be paid for by the union, which is the largest in the city, representing more than 50 members, including public works and clerical workers.
The 13-member Patterson Firefighters Union, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1477, will also participate in the study but will not help pay for it.
Butler said the results shouldn’t affect the contract agreed to by the AFSCME Local 10 that expires in June 2015, but could help set salaries that are appropriate for a city of Patterson’s size and location.
“We’ll be using the study for the next negotiation,” Butler said. “It doesn’t mean anyone will get more raises immediately, but we’ll have that in front of us.
Among the terms of the recently approved contract is a 4 percent base wage increase for all employees represented by the union, effective April 1, 2014. But the raise is conditional on city sales tax revenues topping $2.1 million for the year.
In addition, all normal evaluation-based salary raises have been restored retroactively to July 1, 2012, according to the staff report.
The city will also pay 100 percent of health insurance costs for workers in the union.
The president of AFSCME Local 10, Paul Borchardt, said the study was overdue.
“It’s been five years since the last one,” he said. “It was supposed to have been done a year ago.”
Borchardt said city management and employees seemed happy with the 10 cities that are being compared to Patterson, including Los Banos, Livingston and Galt.
“It should be of use for the negotiations in 2014,” he said.
The firefighters union president, Mike McLaughlin, said the group “piggy-backed” on the study after AFSCME Local 10 members agreed to it.
“I’m curious to see where we sit,” McLaughlin said.
Based on a short study the firefighters union completed on its own, leaders determined that firefighters in Patterson were paid about 8 percent less than in comparable cities, though McLaughlin said the union’s study was must less comprehensive than the planned study.
He said Patterson is close to average when salary and benefits are taken into consideration for firefighters, engineers and captains.
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