County workers approve new $47.5M contract

Thousands of county workers voted to ratify a new three-year, $47.5 million contract with the county, giving them increased retirement health benefits.

About 4,000 employees with the Service Employees International Union, along with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 829 have worked without a contract since Nov. 6.

Workers had called for an overhaul of the current system that ties retirement health benefits to the number of unused sick days an employee accrues, which essentially caps payments after about five years. Female union members called the policy discriminatory, because those who took time off to rear children or care for elderly family members often ended up with fewer years of benefits.

The contract, while still linking retiree benefits to unused sick days, increases the county’s monthly health benefit payment from $175, on average, to $400 a month, according to negotiator Lance Henderson.

The new contract, while not as good as some in surrounding counties, is a big improvement, Henderson said.

Employees with 15 years service will also get a 2 percent annual increase in retiree health benefits, capped at 90 percent of the county’s cheapest health care plan. Those with 20 years service will receive a 4 percent annual increase, with the same cap, according to the SEIU.

Employees with two decades’ service will get 288 additional hours of sick leave, which if unused would essentially extend how long they receive monthly retirement health payments, Henderson said.

“We’re pleased to have an agreement with the two unions and we hope it is beneficial for both them and the county,” said Tim Sullivan, the county’s assistant personnel director. The county resisted overhauling the system, concerned that it could require a jump in county health care costs as health expenses increase, possibly wreaking havoc on long-term budgeting.

ecarpenter@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

Just Posted

A felled tree in Sydney G. Walton Square blocks part of a lane on Front Street following Sunday’s storm on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
After the rain: What San Francisco learned from a monster storm

Widespread damage underscored The City’s susceptibility to heavy wind and rain

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
$1.4 trillion ‘blueprint’ would address Bay Area’s housing, transit woes

Analyzing the big ticket proposals in ‘Plan Bay Area 2050’

A felled tree in San Francisco is pictured on Fillmore Street following a major storm that produced high winds and heavy rains on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Philip Ford)
Storm updates: Rainiest October day in San Francisco history

Rainfall exceeded 10 inches in parts of the Bay Area

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river combine to pummel California with rain and wind

What you need to know about this historic weather event

The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
Whistleblowing hasn’t worked at the SF Dept. of Building Inspection

DBI inspectors say their boss kept them off connected builders’ projects

Most Read