Teamsters Local 769 vs the City of Coral Gables

This coming Monday at 9am the City Commission, in an Impasse Meeting, will take up the failed negotiations with the International Brotherhood of Teams Local 769, who represent employees of the City of Coral Gables, and are unable to reach agreement with the city over a series of proposed salary and pension concessions.

In a talk before the Ponce Business Association, Mr. Mike Scott, Local President of the Teamsters Local 769, gave the views of a group of city employees (excluding police and firefighters who have their own contracts) who he represents.

The head of the Teamsters Local indicated that a required mediation process between the union and the city has failed; and the union will not accept the city’s proposals that includes an increase to 10 percent in pension contributions, a change from a rule of 70 to a rule of 80 to join the DROP and an across-the-board reduction in salaries

The view of the Teamsters is that the employees included in their negotiation should not have to take a larger concession than the police or the firefighters are taking.  The firefighters made a volunteer contribution of 5 percent (and as I understand it is compensated in later years by an earlier participation in pensions, which rough equals the value of their 5 percent contribution), and the police will negotiate a new contract later.

The problem with the Teamster’s representations is that, since the firefighter and police contracts are not up for negotiation at the same time, the other employees will not accept concessions unless the police and firefighters are treated the same.  This is a classic Catch 22 in which none of the unions want to begin the process of concessions.

It is urgent that the city start a process of reductions in salaries and pensions, and it should begin now with the employees represented by the Teamsters, although this may be painful for employees.

The ultimate beneficiaries are the taxpayers who cannot live with the huge pension liabilities that we have to pay now and in the future.

About Stephen E. McGaughey
International consultant in economic development programs and projects

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