Grover Beach staffers picket city hall, consider strike

September 18, 2018

By KAREN VELIE

Multiple city workers marched around Grover Beach City Hall Monday during the city council meeting in protest of the city’s stalled negotiation with the employee union. [Cal Coast Times]

For six months, the union and the city were unable to reach an agreement over cost of living increases. The city had offered employees a 1.5 percent increase in pay while the consumer price index is over 3 percent and employee health costs have risen.

“Our members have families that need to eat, need to have housing and need to pay for the other necessities of life,” the union said in a press release. “Being amongst the lowest paid employees and with many already having to commute long distances, the offer provided by the city is simply not adequate for our members to keep pace.”

For decades, Grover Beach city employees have remained the lowest paid city employees in the county. The Local 620 includes city office, planning, public works and parks and recreation employees. Many of these employees agreed to financial concessions, including furloughs, in 2012 because of budget shortfalls.

Over the past few years, the Grover Beach City Council has voted to approve multiple marijuana dispensaries in an attempt to raise revenue coming into the city.

In Nov. 2017, the Grover Beach City Council voted to double their monthly stipends. With the increase, council members now receive $600 monthly, and the mayor is paid $750 a month.

In an effort to reach an agreement, the union lowered their requested cost of living increase to 2.5 percent. The city denied the request and has ended negotiations.

As a result, union members picketed the council meeting in an attempt to bring the city back to the negotiating table. Several members of the Local 620 said they are considering striking if the city refuses to reopen negotiations.


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Jorge Estrada

Honk if you can give us a better job.


Rambunctious

They have benefits most of us can only dream about. And not a one of them are stuck on Covered California Obama care….let them get a taste of that and see if they will continue to march around with silly SEIU signs….


Snoid

Were dropping ours in favor of Obammy care. Why pay $1300 a month for SEIU bennies when we can get O care for half that. Keep drinking the Koolaide  Ramajamma ;)


CentralcoastRN

This is such a frustrating issue. 


I don’t really see that Grover Beach housing is cheaper, so I’m not sure why people are saying that.


What I notice is that many older people on Social Security don’t want people to have raises, but if you don’t give them a good cost of living adjustment (which they get based on the consumer product index each year), BOY DO WE HEAR ABOUT IT. EVERYONE’s cost of living goes up, and if an employee does good work, shouldn’t we reward that?


 The difference is that in this generation, a basis 3 bedroom house in Grover Beach is like 550k and the average salary is like $21/hour. A family member of mine bought a house 40 years ago in Grover for 28k with a minimum wage job. Now many 2 college educated workers cannot afford a home here. 


Many employees haven’t had real raises since 2012. They even did furlough days without pay in order to help and be a team player. Is this how we repay loyalty these days? 


If we continue with this trend on the central coast of no raises, part time work, and paying less than other places, you are going to see multiple generations, 10-12 people in a house to be able to afford the bills. That or you will have less skilled and qualified workers.


rukidding

You say that people on Social Security don’t want people to have a pay raise? Nothing could be further from the truth. We on Social Security, who have paid into it, would love to have a raise. The problem being is when these government employee’s get raises and increased benefit packages then taxes and fees increase. When that happens it costs us way more than the minimal “raises” that we on Social Security receive. So the end result is that our lifestyle goes into the fast lane but unfortunately backwards.


CentralcoastRN

No, what I’m saying is that just like Social Security recipients, who need and deserve a raise, so too do these employees. I have this argument with my own parent who worked his whole life and now draws his social security (which he and everyone else deserves). He complains about “government workers” getting raises and thinks they don’t deserve one ever. Yet when he gets a $12 a month raise that is taken by medicare, he fumes. See the hypocrisy there? THAT’ S my point. How about we just give no one a raise ever and see how that works.


rukidding

I don’t think that anyone is against pay raises when earned. The problem is the difference between the private sector and the government sector. We always hear about the so called low pay that government employees get. Most often theri benefit package is never included in that information. I would be all for their pay raises if they reduced their benefits to those similar that most people in the private sector get. That would be equality in pay. It’s exactly why government employees rarely quit their jobs because they have it very well and are paid better than the private sector when benefits are included. Just look at Transparent California and check the complete pay pacjkage for an Administrative Assistant, say secretary, compared to the that in the public sector. I wouldn’t quit either or would I complain.


heybobareebob

An increase in salary will result in an increase in pension obligations. Because of the “California Rule” the only way to control pension costs is to either keep the salaries at the current level or lower them, or increase the Grover Beach employer contribution share. If GB is fully funded then an increase in salaries may be financially ok. If not, increases should be rejected.


JordanJ

These are hard working employees, many who have been with the city for more than a decade. Why I think in many cases public employees are overpaid, this is not the case here. While the council doubles their own pay and spends big on consultants and management, they want these employees to make less every year because of cost of living increases and health care costs.


The council could care less about the employees who keep the city going while they kiss the feet of the pot store owners. Disgusting!


kayaknut

There’s the door, I’m sure many other qualified workers can found found elsewhere that wouldn’t mind a job where you can retire much earlier than regular folks and collect 100%+ of your salary with benefits and be able to get another job in government and not have your pension cut.


Stunned

Grover has long been the lowest paid city workers that I know of. Why anyone would drive a long distance to get there is beyond me. I would encourage the union to accept the offer and move on or accept the fact that Grover doesn’t seem to be in the mood to negotiate.


rukidding

Everyone knows that Grover Beach is at the bottom of the totem Pole. I would have to say that Grover Beach offers what might be the most affordable housing in the county, so why commute? Then there is always the option and quit your job and go out and see how the real world works. Should just be glad to have a job with benefits.


Ben Daho

What s wrong with you? These are human beings. They shouldn’t have to work 2 jobs to make ends meet. Can they come to YOU for a better job? Why do some people say “Just go get a better job”? really? How many interviews can YOU get in a month? When? Do you call in sick to go interview? do they have an opening, AND have a better deal than the current position? Do they do interviews on weekends or evenings? “quit your job and go see how the real world works” THIS is the real world. You fight for what you want. this time it’s with picket signs. You’re a sick person. What have YOU done for higher wages?


rukidding

If you check on California Transparent you can find all of the salaries and benefit packages for 2017 for Grover Beach employees. Granted everyone wants more and more still would never be enough in most cases. For everyone in Grover Beach who may consider quiting I could guarantee that their would be a line around the building of people who would gladly accept their positions and their pay and benefit packages.The primary purpose of an incorporated city is to serve the people/taxpayers. In the open market benefits are usually very limited and that is, or use to be, why most people got government jobs for the security of employment and the retirement packages.


rukidding

I worked 14 hours day and paid into a private retirement fund. I now get social security at around $1300+ a month. I pay an additional $700+ a quarter for supplemental medical insurance. I’m not complaining but everyone in Grover Beach will be receiving better benefits than I receive and probably for working a lot less. If they don’t like it and want to get ahead then make a sacrifice and work more or quit crying.


Snoid

That’s great but I can tell you in most cases of public works employees they are forbidden from taking second jobs due to potential conflict of interest issues, they are on call 24/7 and are required as a part of employment with any given municipality to live within a 30 minute response time. last indicators I saw said that only 7% of SLO’s residents even qualify for a home at the current ridiculous prices. You want park upkeep, 24/7 response after a tourist hits a hydrant and makes a geyser, turds floating down street from a plugged sewer line, or some nice gangbanger graffiti on the local park building wall then by all means let em walk as you say. If that dont sound to appealing then suck it up and realize its not 1960 anymore and the price of life isn’t in quarters, its hundred dollar bills now. 


rukidding

I think you may be old school? Everything you mentioned has been done away with years ago. The city of Atascadero has a fire captain who moonlights as the fire chief for Templeton. What more can I say? I’ve been there and have done all of it. You are right it’s not 1960 anymore, unfortunately. For the most part it now takes 2 incomes in today’s world. Also in 1960 we didn’t have all of the play toys that everyone has today like cell phones, internet, cable tv, fancy overpriced cars and boutique clothing. These items could easily add up to $1000 a month. If eliminated or reduced that amount could be put towards a home purchase and qualify a person for an additional $100,000 loan. Buying a first home requires a substantial sacrifice.


Snoid

Cant speak for the fire or “hazard pay” guys who do a days on, days off schedule and can take on other employment, but the others like myself cant per the latest MOU agreement, nor do we get 100% of anything once retired, Geez,I wish. Im not complaining mind you, just saying. Your correct in that we’ve become addicted to junk. $800 cell phones, $100+ a month service, $100+ – a month for TV, Half a MILLION dollars for a starter home, who’d ever have guessed this is where it all would head. Im ure other places are very similar in the keep up with the Jone’es but I can tell you not everywhere is screwed up like Cal.