Glendale City Council may impose labor contract on IBEW

After more than two years of contract talks, the Glendale City Council on Tuesday may impose a labor agreement on the union representing Glendale Water & Power employees.

On the council’s agenda is an item to “unilaterally implement” a contract for fiscal year 2012-13, said City Manager Scott Ochoa.

He said the city has the right to approve a contract at the conclusion of good-faith bargaining.

The city has been working with the L.A.-based International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 since April 2011 to draft a contract and a memorandum of understanding.

The union membership turned down a proposed contract in April 2012, partially due to a requirement to increase employee contributions to retirement funds.

At that point, city officials felt they had reached an impasse, Ochoa said.

“They want a contract that they want. They don’t want a contract that we can afford,” he added.

So the city focused on dealing with a $15.4-million budget deficit and negotiating with other unions.

However, the IBEW wants talks to continue. The union filed a lawsuit in March asking a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge to order stakeholders to assign mediators to resolve the contract dispute.

Previously, the Public Employee Relations Board — a quasi-judicial agency charged with overseeing public bargaining units — had agreed with the city of Glendale in denying a request by the IBEW for mediators because the union applied too late.

Ochoa said the IBEW hasn’t given the city a contract proposal in writing since last July.

The IBEW did not respond Friday to requests for comment.

-- Mark Kellam,

Follow on Twitter: @LAMarkKellam.

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