Pension Contribution Discussions Continue in San Diego

SAN DIEGO _ CFI and San Diego court representatives met again this week to discuss the court's elimination of the employer paid member contribution (EPMC) based on negotiations with the unit representing court clerks.  

The court unilaterally implemented the change in June without adequate notice or the opportunity for to meet and confer, but reversed itself and reinstated the offset at our first meeting in July. The Union contends that by law, courts have an obligation to negotiate over this change and it’s impacts with each affected union.
The EPMC pension offset has a value of 7% of an employee’s base wage- that's 205.05 per 40-hour pay period for full time employees. The annual value is more than $5000 for full time employees. The court asserts that it is not required to bargain over the decision and only has to bargain locally over impacts. We disagree. Our overall terms and conditions are negotiated regionally and, in light of these developments, we may have to pursue another remedy if an agreement cannot be reached with the local court.
The court proposed Monday to provide a temporary delay in the elimination of the EPMC, to be phased in over the next 16 months. Under the court’s proposal, most of the recently negotiated and ratified wage increases would be wiped out by elimination of the EPMC. With each scheduled wage increase, the court would eliminate an equivalent percentage of the EPMC. By the end of 2016 interpreters would be paying the additional 7% of their employee contribution. As a result, interpreters would not see any increase in their checks until 2018 when the last increase would give you a 2% bump in take home pay. This is far less than the last-best-final offer that interpreters resoundingly rejected last February during regional negotiations.
The union has proposed a benefit similar to those agreed to by the Riverside and San Bernardino courts in Region 4, a combination of a deferred compensation contribution and paid leave that an interpreter could take as time off or cash out. The proposed package is roughly equivalent in value to the 7% offset members had been receiving and would now lose under the court’s proposal to eliminate the EPMC. Though a base wage increase would have greater long-term value to mitigate the loss of the EPMC, these alternative benefits would preserve interpreters’ overall compensation
The union proposes a permanent benefit in recognition of the fact that the loss of the offset has a permanent impact on employees' earnings. Otherwise, there would be substantial inequities in the compensation within the Region, and interpreters in San Diego would not receive the benefit of the modest 9% in salary increases that were negotiated and ratified in May, allowing for agreement to a three-year contract, after seven years without any increase at all to the base wage.
The union expressed disappointment in the court’s offer. The court and union agreed to meet again on September 14. In the meantime, we will be scheduling meetings for members to answer your questions and explain our options.
For CFI,
Mary Lou Aranguren, Lead Spokesperson
Ariel Torrone, CFI President
Ana Fuller, San Diego Member
Rebeca Vera, San Diego Member
Gina Arteaga, San Diego Member
Gemma Yosick, San Diego Member
Tags: *reg-4, *bargaining