City Council members today announced that the final union representing civilian City employees has agreed to a reduction in the City's retirement match from 2-to-1 to 1.29-to1 for newly hired workers. The lower retirement match is included in the tentative agreement reached with the Public Association of Government Employees (PAGE), one of four unions representing civilian City employees.
"The new retirement plan will be more responsible to City taxpayers," said City Council member Doug Emery. "While the cost savings are limited in the short term, the union's concurrence has strengthened City finances for the future and likely saved important City services."
On behalf of Mayor Chris Beutler and other City Council members, Emery thanked PAGE for its "integrity, fairness and commitment to compromise." He also thanked the Mayor and the City negotiating team for their tenacity. The Mayor and Council members have worked to lower the retirement match since July of 2009.
In 2009, the City Budget Office estimated that the lower retirement match could save $1.6 million over five years. Council member Gene Carroll said actual savings have been lower because the City has not hired many new employees and has reduced the City workforce overall.
Ultimately, however, the City could save nearly $3 million per year in the future. And he said the lower retirement match has contributed to the City in other ways.
"We have made tough choices and avoided the fiscal disasters that have played out in other cities during the national recession," Carroll said. "Unity of purpose has been a key factor in our success and I sincerely believe that the lower retirement match has played an important role in achieving that unity."
The three unions who earlier agreed to the lower match are the Lincoln City Employees Association (LCEA), the Lincoln "M" (Managers) Class Employees Association and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1293. The Lincoln Firefighters Association Local 644 and the Lincoln Police Union have a separate pension plan. Labor contracts are available online at personnel.lincoln.ne.gov.