Tomorrow, August 20th, the Local I-60’s bargaining team and representatives of Rural Metro Corp will be resuming negotiations with the continued assistance of a mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS).
During the last bargaining session, the Local I-60 proposed an offer to the company, however it was rejected in its entirety as Rural Metro stands behind their “Offer 2”. “Offer 2” consists of a pay-freeze for 5 years from the date the agreement is execute, no guaranteed hours (meaning the company can send you home without pay if call volumes are low), freezing the pension plan to any new participants or future accruals of current employees, and several other unacceptable provisions. At this time, “Offer 2” is the only offer on the table from Rural Metro — which has not changed since they presented it to the Union on January 9th.
Their “Offer 2” does not include raises for any employees, in fact it proposes that the Company be permitted to reduce starting wages by roughly 5% to pay future employees even less. Rural Metro also proposes to eliminate longevity pay in its entirety — causing up to $6,000 in lost wages per year for some of the more senior employees. While the “offer” is worth approximately $9 – $10 million, that money is primarily to make good on past pension debts and simply continue the status quo, rather than an investment in employees for the future.
Just to keep things in perspective, continuing the pension plan has a cost of $30,826,000 for the next 5 years (and $62.7 million for ten years). The company’s position is that they want to freeze the pension plan, freeing themselves of a significant liability, and reducing their maintenance cost to $18,349,000 for the next ten years— as opposed to $62.7 million. That is a 10 years savings of over $44 million dollars. So far Rural Metro’s leadership team has refused to invest any part of that $44 million saved back into employees, but rather continues on it’s position of a 5 year pay freeze (in addition to the 4 years without raises that have already gone by), up to $6,000 a year in pay cuts by eliminating longevity, and other various “savings” demanded by management.
The Local I-60’s team provided non-binding “supposals” to management last month in another attempt to find middle ground on the remaining issues. We hope that management can make some movement off of their “Offer 2” which has yet to be seen.