Los Angeles News

Tentative LADWP labor agreement reached

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A new agreement between the city of Los Angeles and Department of Water and Power workers could mean smaller rate increases for customers over the next few years.

"Today, the balance of power at the DWP shifts to the people," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

Garcetti and members of the city council announced a tentative agreement with the DWP union that includes no raises for three years. The city's chief negotiator says it will mean big savings.

"The total value of this deal is $456 million over the next four years and $6.1 billion over the next 30 years," said City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana.

City negotiators had worked on this for months and had an agreement in place last week. But Garcetti complained it did not provide enough reforms and he would not approve it. The mayor and his staff say they worked out a revised contract, which addresses the issue of work rules that drove up overtime.

"It's not just work rules, to be clear. There are side agreements that have been done behind closed doors by a joint labor management committee that have oftentimes not seen the light of day. That has to change. It has to be daylighted. It will be as part of this," said Garcetti.

The mayor says the city can adjust those work rules during the term of the contract. We went to the union headquarters Thursday and called the IBEW. We were told they wouldn't comment about it.

The contract also creates a new pension tier for new hires. Retirement age for full benefits goes up to 63; the maximum pension is 80 percent of salary; and new hires will contribute more to their pension and healthcare, 10 percent. Savings here: $41 million over four years. But even with all that, they say we can expect higher bills.

"There is anticipated rate increases. We'll see those when they come. We'll look at them closely, but what this does is makes sure that it isn't higher," said Garcetti.

The city council will vote on this on Friday. Then the IBEW union members will vote on whether to ratify this contract. That could take several weeks.

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department of water and power, budget, los angeles news, carlos granda
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