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City, employees make a deal Robert Moreno | Sat, Aug 10 2013 12:00 PM

The Chula Vista City Council on Tuesday ratified a new two-year contract with its city employees, who had declared an impasse during labor negotiations.

The new agreement calls for two across-the- board wage increases in the contract’s first year, a first in five years for city employees; and in the second year of the contract there is a re-opener to further negotiate additional increases.

Also included in the contract, the city will contribute 50 percent of the average increases to the flex benefits for all tiers of coverage. CVEA employees will contribute the other 50 percent.

City Manager Jim Sandoval said the contract agreement doesn’t put the city of Chula Vista and its employees in financial jeopardy.

“A lot of them (city employees) had not seen increases in many years, and we recognized that,” Sandoval said. “But we also have to make sure we  don’t put the city and its employees at risk.”

“We wanted to reach a contract that was fair but doesn’t compensate highly where they won’t lose their jobs, and what the city could afford.”

Kim Vander Bie, an associate planner in the Planning and Building Department for the city of Chula Vista and one of the union’s 380 members, said the agreement was acceptable.

“We didn’t get everything we asked for, but it is a compromise we can live with,” Vander Bie said.

Vander Bie has been an employee of Chula Vista for 15 years.

Vander Bie said the contract allows the city to be fiscally responsible without breaking the bank.

The contract also allows union members to have an input in the compensation component of the Quality Workforce program.

Vander Bie said the new contract gives city workers a morale boost.

“I think the city realized that they couldn’t feed us Lean Cuisines, it was time for some protein, and so that’s what reenergized us,” she said.

CVEA is an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union Local 221.

The Western Council of Engineers and the Chula Vista Firefighter Local 2180 are still in negotiations with Chula Vista on a new contract.

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