SLO employees’ union negotiations stall, tensions mount

February 11, 2012


UPDATE: Includes a statement by San Luis Obispo Employees Association Vice President Madelyn Paasch that says city negotiators first declared an impasse.

Amidst allegations of bargaining in bad faith, contract negotiations between the city of San Luis Obispo and its employees’ union stalled Thursday.

Details of the negotiations were provided by city staffers and others involved in the bargaining process. These sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because of agreements not to reveal details to the media.

During what was scheduled as an all day negotiating session, tensions mounted with San Luis Obispo City Employees’ Association President Ron Faria arguing that the city was negotiating in bad faith. Representing the city, San Francisco based attorney Rick Bolanos fired back claiming Faria’s whole deal was to stall and delay, the sources said.

Faria then said they were at an impasse which ended the session less than three hours after it began, the sources said.

San Luis Obispo Employees Association Vice President Madelyn Paasch contends it was members of the city’s negotiation team, Monica Irons and Rick Bolanos, who declared the negotiations were at an impasse not association representatives.

“To date we have not received anything in writing declaring the ‘impasse,’ ” Paasch said. “We anticipate this letter in the near future based on the ‘shut down’ for further discussions by the city. It has always been our intent to bargain fairly and provide the best we can for our membership.”

City negotiators are proposing association members agree to a 6.8 percent reduction in pay, the sources said. And while Faria is arguing against any employee decrease in pay or benefits, several employees said they prefer to mirror city management and the firefighter’s union and agree to pay the employee portion of their retirement contributions which would amount to an 8 percent compensation reduction.

These employees argue that if Gov. Jerry Brown’s 12 point pension reform plan is agreed to government employees will be required to pay their own contributions to the state retirement plan regardless of previous salary concessions.

Following the meeting, Faria made comments to staffers that the association has the power to “bring the city to its knees,” sources said.

When asked to comment on his alleged statements and Thursday’s bargaining session, Faria said, “We are still in negotiations so I am not going to say anything.”

Negotiations between the association and the city have been ongoing since September. The previous city and union contract expired on Dec. 31.

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The City has a hiring freeze and has had one for how many years now and yet it has a Human Resource Director with a full staff, AND YET, they have to go outside the City to San Francisco (boy, what is that contracting costing per hour and travel). I thought the City’s mantra was we pay the high salaries we do to department heads because we want the best of the best. I know for a fact that the City Human Resource Director use to do negotiations. So let’s see, Mr. Faria and employees want to pay their share of the retirement package now (which they should have been doing all along – no one is paying mine) because under Gov Brown’s plan they are going to do this anyway and should have been doing it all along. Bottom line, they are not giving up anything because they should have been paying their 6-7% into PERS and the City pay their 6-7% so you thefts can retire at the age of 55 with 2.7% of your salary for each year worked. What greed! Wake up folks, your free ride is over so start hitting the dislike button.

We are living in a new era of government wage and benefits. Government employees need a wage and benefit package in line with the average worker in the municipality they are a member of. We will continue to see reductions in the pay package until this balance is achieved. I work harder than most city employees and make about the same but have to fully pay for all of my medical insurance and retirement contributions . I would like to see city employees have the same pay structure. I can live with working harder and longer, just not receiving less.

Ron Faria needs to go, threatening his ability to “bring the city to it’s knees” is childish.

You can make more, or less, in the private sector, depending on circumstances. What you cannot do is steal from, and sabotage, your employer’s interests (for government that be us) with total impunity. Fix that right now. I’m mad, and now I’m going to dump out a bunch of of paint and varnish in the storm drain down the street :<(

I love seeing all the new posters here. Gives a fresh eye on topics. Welcome, everyone!

Perhaps they had to go to outside source for the attorney because there are no decent attorneys in our area? Just a thought…

Why are we paying for out of town talent again? Why can’t the city find decent local representation? Eat local, hire local.

I suspect the city of SLO actually wanted to win their case and figured Goober & Mr. Whiffle were bad choices for a defense attorneys.

“Faria made comments to staffers that the association had the power to “bring the city to its knees,”


Your Association rep leader acting for and on your behalf might be on drugs!

SLO is one of the very few cities that owe no substantial debt and can sustain employment.

The economic conditions and the things to surely come are clearly written on the wall.

Timing is everything, this is NOT the time to follow Faria.

I know, fire them all.

Then hire people who want to work for a decent wage and use Social Security like the rest of us.

Problem solved.

Is not Ron Faria the guy who stole equipment from the City and got off? Nice. Let’s pay them MORE.

Yep, the one and only! Let’s see, it got off with stealing so why not bring the “City to its knees”. What a joke! And he represents all the general unit of employees. Great role model folks!!!!!

The attorney is cheaper than union control. SLO City employees aren’t looking so good these days. 2x pay for 1/2 time work and complete insubordination when they can’t rip off the system isn’t going to fly these days.

I love it: the city can find money to hire an attorney from the City. However, they cannot afford just compensation for the rank and file; the people who actually get the job done. It’s half-time America! !!

You are correct; they should hire a local attorney, negotiate a reduced fee, and then ratchet the ‘rank and file’ compensation to the average loss experienced by most of the workers in this county…

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