Corona city employees threaten to strike over cuts
By Suzanne Hurt
City of Corona employees are threatening to strike after the City Council approved across-the-board cuts and a small raise to help the city out of financial straits amid a recall effort and a plan to ask voters to approve a sales tax increase.
Due to an impasse after 18 months of contract negotiations, the council voted 3-2 on Nov. 14 to impose a plan with 2 percent raises, healthcare coverage reductions and elimination of a medical differential paid to employees.
The plan, which doesn’t cover sworn police or fire personnel, was proposed by City Manager Darrell Talbert to help cut spending amid mounting costs that include a $254 million unfunded pension liability and the looming exhaustion of the city’s emergency contingency reserves.
The plan impacts pay and benefits for all other city employees, supervisors, management and the executive team. Talbert, who makes $287,504 plus $113,284 in benefits a year according to Transparent California, will not get a raise.
Corona General Employees Association members rallied outside City Hall last week before the council OK’d the plan. Negotiations with that union and the Corona Supervisors Association have failed to reach an agreement. General employees, whose attorneys made a counter-proposal last week after the council vote, are considering a strike.
“We’re at the point where we’re trying to use every avenue we have to try and get a contract with the city. So we’re still open to negotiating,” said the union’s First Vice President Nathan Devlin, a Corona police forensic technician.
The new terms will remain in effect until a contract is negotiated, said Talbert.
Early next year, Talbert plans to propose an austerity plan with service cuts that could be implemented unless voters pass a .5 percent to 1 percent sales tax increase the council would first have to put on the November ballot. The council itself can’t enact […]