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Agreement Moves County Closer to Achieving $75 Million in Labor Cost Savings

CEMA - Santa Clara County’s Middle Management Union Proactively Agrees to Help Save Services

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – Today, the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors ratified an agreement approved by members of CEMA/OE#3, AFL-CIO, a union representing over 1,600 middle managers within Santa Clara County. The agreement will yield savings of nearly $27 million over the two years, or $13.4 million annually.

“We greatly appreciate the sacrifices made by CEMA employees to help lower costs and save services for county residents,” said Dave Cortese, President of the Board of Supervisors. “These employees are public servants in the truest sense.”

The agreement includes a variety of cost-saving solutions to assist Santa Clara County in managing a budget deficit totaling in at $219 million. Of the total anticipated savings to the County, 86% will come through an increase in CEMA members’ salary contributions to their pensions. These savings will begin to accrue immediately as CEMA member contributions replace a sizeable portion of the County’s required payment to the California Public Employee Retirement System. The new contract goes into effect next week.

The agreement is the result of CEMA’s proactive effort to present responsible and sustainable solutions to the County prior to the official start of collective bargaining. Other solutions contained in the agreement include creating new efficiencies in the health coverage plans offered to CEMA members.

“Today is a very exciting day for both CEMA members and the people of Santa Clara County,” said Amando Cablas, Ph.D., President of CEMA/OE#3, AFL-CIO. “We are extremely proud of the fact that we were able to take the initiative, bargain collectively, and proactively pursue an agreement that offers a real solutions that not only manages to save the County an estimated $27 million, but also build upon a solid foundation for continued collaboration between CEMA and Santa Clara County.”

CEMA members voted on the agreement on June 16 and 17 at locations across Santa Clara County.

“Early action on this agreement by CEMA means the County will be closer to achieving its target of $75 million in General Fund labor cost savings for the fiscal year that begins July 1,” said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith. “We still have a ways to go and are cautiously optimistic that reason will prevail and we will be able to achieve the savings needed to keep the budget balanced.”

Other Approved Agreements
Today, the Board of Supervisors also approved an action for confidential administrative employees that mirrors the CEMA Agreement. This group of employees is not represented by a union. The savings to be achieved for the confidential employees from the changes total $2 million for the two-year period, or $1 million annually.

On June 7th, the Board of Supervisors accepted a series of proposals from County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith that will reduce Executive Managers’ salary by six percent (6%) next month while increasing their share of payments towards the cost of benefits, for a total reduction in compensation of 8.95 percent. The annual savings to be achieved with these changes total $3.1 million.

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell, County, 408-299-5119; Luke Leung, County, 408-299-5828; Dan Cohen, CEMA, 510-271-0640 x101; Brian Rice, CEMA, 510-271-0640 x 106
Posted: June 22, 2011