Burbank firefighters agree to pay more toward pensions

Burbank will save $643,000 over the next two years after the City Council this week approved a labor agreement with Burbank firefighters that would require them to pay their full employee pension contribution in return for a 5.5% raise.

After three years of negotiations, during which Gov. Jerry Brown enacted a pension reform law to scale back the public cost of paying into the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or CalPERS, the city and the labor group reached a deal, which the council unanimously approved Tuesday.

By the end of the month, firefighters will get a 1% raise and will have to cover roughly a quarter of their CalPERS member contribution, which is 2% of their salary. The city currently covers the employee pension contribution, which is 9% of their salary, but firefighters will over time pick up more and more of their pension costs until June 2015, when they will be responsible for the entire portion.

They will also continue to get salary increases — by 2015, firefighters will have received 5.5% raises. Even so, the city will realize $643,000 in cost savings over the life of the contract, officials said.

New hires who join CalPERS after Jan. 1 will be paying 11.25% of their salaries toward their pensions under the new state law, officials said.

City employees who are members of The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have already been paying the full employee contribution since 2008, and the Burbank Police Officers’ Assn. is on track to do so by next year, according to a city report.


Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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