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San Diego Reaches Deals With Three Employee Unions

San Diego lifeguards monitor the beach at Tourmaline Surf Park in Pacific Beach, Aug. 26, 2014.
Christopher Maue
San Diego lifeguards monitor the beach at Tourmaline Surf Park in Pacific Beach, Aug. 26, 2014.

The city of San Diego reached tentative contract agreements with three employee unions that will provide pay raises beginning July 1, 2018, the mayor's office announced Monday.

The contract with deputy city attorneys, if approved by the City Council, would run until June 30, 2019. The tentative deals with tradesmen belonging to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 127, and lifeguards in Teamsters Local 911, would run until June 30, 2020.

The mayor's office said the employees approved the agreements by wide margins.

"With these new agreements, we're continuing pension reform while at the same time offering fair contracts that include benefits like paid parental leave," Mayor Kevin Faulconer said.

"As we grow our economy, we're investing more in our neighborhoods by paving more roads, building new and improved parks, and keeping our libraries and rec centers open longer," Faulconer said. "These contracts recognize that these improvements are only possible thanks to the employees who deliver neighborhood services day in and day out."

According to the mayor's office, provisions of the agreements include:

— 3.3 percent pay raises in Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020, which come after a voter-approved freeze on most compensation increases expires;

— paid parental leave of 160 hours time off for the birth, placement or adoption of a child;

— bereavement leave of 40 hours for all full-time employees, with step-parents, step-siblings and grandparents, grandchildren, mothers-in-law and fathers-in-law added to list of covered deaths; and

— increases in flexible health care benefits of $1,500 in the upcoming fiscal year to $1,650 in 2018.

The tentative contracts also provide for specialty and special assignment pay for a handful of jobs to address recruitment and retention issues. Those include wastewater plant operators, fleet technicians, select deputy city attorney positions, boat operators, electricians, fleet employees with a Class B license, mobile crane operators, greens keepers and nursery gardeners.

"This is an exceptionally fair contract that will help improve operations and better protect our beaches and bays," said lifeguard Chief Rick Wurts.

"For example, by converting the boating safety unit to a specialty team, we'll be able to offer more extensive training and increase the capabilities of lifeguards who pilot fireboats," Wurts said. "This agreement well positions the San Diego Lifeguard Service to continue to employ the best skilled, best trained lifeguards around."

The San Diego Police Officers Association and Municipal Employees Association, which represents white-collar workers, previously agreed to similar deals. The city is still negotiating with firefighters.