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Santa Maria Council Approves 2-Year Pact With SEIU Workers

Four weeks after showing up in force to ask for a “fair and equitable contract,” members of the Service Employees International Union Local 620 representing scores of Santa Maria city workers will get a wage hike.

The Santa Maria City Council on Tuesday night approved the two-year agreement with SEIU Local 620, calling for a 3-percent pay increase retroactive to Dec. 13, 2014. 

The employees had been working without a contract since the previous agreement expired Dec. 12.

“We’re pleased we were able to get a multi-year contract with our general employees,” City Manager Rick Haydon said after the meeting. “All things being equal, I think it’s win for both sides. It’s something the city can live with from a financial perspective.”

For the second year, the union members will receive a wage hike based on the Consumer Price Index for the Los Angeles-Orange County-Riverside area during a 12-month period.

The rate hike will be least 2-percent if the CPI figure falls below that number. 

Employees said last month they sought a 3.5 percent salary hike, akin to the 3.6 percent public-safety groups received. 

SEIU Local 620 represents approximately 264 city employees, officials said. Those workers handle assorted tasks in the city, such as keeping city vehicles running, operating the water plant and maintaining city streets.

The city has about half the number of miscellaneous employees per capita than either the city of Santa Barbara or the city of San Luis Obispo, union officials contend.

The union members agreed to unpaid furloughs in recent years to help the city through bad financial times, and worked for the passage of a measure to boost sales tax to fund public safety, members told the council earlier this year.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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