Rollie Katz, the attorney for Public Employees Union Local No. 1, said during a press conference Monday morning that the city offered special treatment to the Antioch Police Officers Association, keeping the harshest cuts away from cops. According to Katz, Antioch workers have made concessions such as continued furloughs, a 36-hour workweek, deferred pay raises until 2013, and an increase in workers’ money paid into pension plans.
Meanwhile, Katz claims the police officers have deferred their pay raises until Jan. 1, 2012 and will contribute 3 percent more to their pension plan for six months, from July to the end of the year.
“We think it’s very important for City Council to understand that if they are going to ask our members to make sacrifices, they have to ask all employees to make sacrifices of the same length,” Katz said. “We’re prepared to make more sacrifices, but we need to see all employees asked to make more sacrifices.”
Katz, who represents a staff of roughly 50 city workers, stressed that he is not angry at the officers, but rather the City Council, which he said promised fair cuts across the board.
“It’s something that has to be done,” said Todd Northam, a street maintenance worker and the head of Public Employees Union Local No. 1.
Sgt. Tom Fuhrmann, the head of the police officer’s association, said that during negotiations, the two sides weren’t talking about any other union’s deal; just focusing on what was best for the city and the officers. In a press release announcing the agreement between police and the city – which is set for a City Council vote on Tuesday – Fuhrmann writes that the concessions made by Antioch cops will save the city $966,699.
“We feel that we’re doing our part,” Fuhrmann said. “We don’t know what they were talking about at the table and we just had to do what was best for our members.”
City Manager Jim Jakel pointed out that while other unions negotiating with the city have been subject to layoffs, Local No. 1 has not. Jakel felt that negotiations have been fair and that no one group has been placed above another. The city’s contract with Local No. 1 ends Sept. 30, but Jakel is confident that talks will progress enough for a longer agreement.
“There’s ups and downs, but I don’t have any reason to think that we won’t be able to reach an agreement,” Jakel said. “Every unit has a different term of contracts. Different benefits are being conceded. It hasn’t been the same, but all of our employees have been stepping up.”
Antioch City Council will vote on the agreement between the city and its police officer’s union at its next regularly scheduled meeting, Tuesday at 7 p.m.