Burbank to consider imposing employment terms on city attorneys group

The Burbank City Council next week is slated to consider imposing terms of employment on the Burbank city attorneys union after a year of unsuccessful labor negotiations.

Negotiations between the city and the Burbank City Attorneys Assn. — which is comprised of 10 attorneys and a paralegal — reached a stalemate last summer after the two groups failed to agree on 30 issues, the most contentious being salaries and pension plans.

The council will consider imposing the city's last and final offer on the group, which includes a 3% raise in exchange for the union members paying their full employee pension contribution, or 8% of their salaries.

Those terms would amount to a 3% net pay cut for the employees, who currently pay 2% of their salaries toward their pensions.

The offer is far less than what the union had initially demanded during negotiations, which city officials said amounted to a 13.4% raise retroactive to November 2012 and a 2% raise annually for the next three fiscal years.

City officials said the terms would help address the city's structural budget deficit by saving an estimated $68,000 annually starting next fiscal year, according to a city report.

But union president Terry Stevenson said in a statement that the city's own financial reports demonstrate the city's strong financial condition and projected surplus.

"The attorneys have foregone any cost-of-living adjustments or salary increases for more than six years. In fact, the city has cut our net pay and benefits during that time," Stevenson said in the statement.

The pension issue, however, remains the subject of a pending lawsuit the union filed against the city in February. The union claims the city forced its members to pay a portion of their employee retirement contributions which the city had long ago agreed to cover, according to the lawsuit.

If the city does move forward with the forced terms, Stevenson said the union would reserve all its legal rights, which would include filing a complaint with the Public Employment Relations Board.

The council will consider the proposal at its regular Tuesday meeting.


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


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