The Merced Deputy Sheriff’s Association recently ratified a two-year contract with the County of Merced for Bargaining Unit 10, which includes the Deputy Sheriffs. The contract provides for a 6% pay increase effective in the first year, plus a lump sum payment up to $1,500, upon ratification, for those employees who worked from March of 2020 through February 2021 and March 2021 through February 2022 ($750 per year). The deal also includes some minor changes and language adjustments to the parties’ MOU.
The DSA also represents Bargaining Unit 14, made up of Deputy Coroners and Dispatchers, and reached a tentative agreement with the County on a new contract for Unit 14. However, Unit 14 employees overwhelmingly rejected ratification of the tentative agreement. The Deputy Coroners and Dispatchers have fallen well below the average pay of employees in comparable agencies, and they are experiencing increasing issues with retention and recruitment. Unit 14 representatives are determined to hold out for a more meaningful pay raise.
Merced County is typically known for providing identical increases across bargaining units to all County employees. In fact, over the past decade, Unit 10 and Unit 14 employees have been the only employees in the County above minimum wage to receive equity increases.
MAJ partner Gary Messing was the chief negotiator for the bargaining team led by DSA President Roberto Torres. The bargaining team also consisted of Deputies Alfred Velasquez, Chris Sziraki, George Sziraki, and Michael Burdick, Dispatchers Andrew Gallagher and Leslie Houser, and Deputy Coroner Danielle Oliveira.
Also, the City of Hanford and the Hanford Police Officers Association recently reached a deal for a three-year MOU that will provide Police Officers with a nearly 17% pay increase over the three years of the contract. The parties commenced negotiations on June 1st and rapidly moved toward agreement. Notably, in the mutual hope of positively addressing the same retention and recruitment issues that public safety agencies throughout the state and country are facing, the City and the POA were able to agree on a salary survey that led to significant pay increases for all bargaining unit classifications.
Effective July 1, 2022, all classifications received a 3% salary increase for year one of the contract, with a 2% increase coming in July 2023 for year two and another 2% increase in July 2024 for year three. Additionally, in year one, equity increases were provided in the amounts of 9.12% to Police Officers, 8.9% to Sergeants, 7.7% to Lieutenants, and 2.4% to Captains. Thus, when compounded, the pay increases range from approximately 10% to 17%.
The new MOU includes an increase to holiday credits by 16 hours in recognition of Juneteenth, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve. The parties added 8 hours to the payout bank (up to 56 hours) and 8 hours to the holiday-in-lieu bank (also up to 56 hours, which represents an increase to the cap on the holiday-in-lieu bank). The parties also expanded coverage for bereavement leave, increased the value of the medical, dental, and vision plans, and doubled the life insurance coverage from $25,000 to $50,000. Finally, the City agreed to loosen grooming standards to permit facial hair and will meet to discuss lightening the restrictions on tattoos.
Gary Messing was the chief negotiator who, along with POA President Brent McCreary, headed up the effective and experienced bargaining team, which included Ryan Tomey, Frank Martinez, Justin Vallin, Mitch Smith, Jarred Cotta, and Chris Barker. The City’s bargaining team was collegial and, much to its credit, focused on trying to resolve the staffing issues facing the Police Department.