Jacksonville and its supervisors get closer to a deal on Tuesday

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Tuesday saw negotiators from the City of Jacksonville squaring off with the Jacksonville Supervisors Association in collective bargaining. And substantial progress was made on key elements during two sessions.

As with the other bargaining units, the city is negotiating with in the wake of the passage of August’s County Referendum 1, a considerable gap looms between what the JSA wants and what the city is offering.

There is a fundamental difference between positions of the JSA and police and fire unions. Unlike public safety unions, the JSA is not “naive” about (or especially resistant to) the possibility of new hires being placed in 401(k) programs, based on the marketing of the referendum, yet it does take issue with the city’s proposed salary hikes.

The proposed 9.5 percent raise and a 2 percent lump sum payment fall far short of what the JSA sees as necessary, and the gap between management and labor on pay levels, which isn’t new, currently seems like the biggest sticking point in negotiations.

JSA head Jason Geiger said “the proposal does nothing to address the inequity” created by wage reductions in 2010, saying it was an “insult.”

JSA members have “dangerous jobs” as well, such as code enforcement, road construction management, traffic control supervisors, and 911 supervisors.

The JSA noted the city proposal does not make city employees whole, compared to pre-2010 pay levels, and the city proposal leaves JSA suffering compared to other bargaining units.

Regarding the defined contribution plan, the JSA said it “may be lucrative” under favorable market conditions, and did not rule out supporting it.

Geiger said the JSA was not “naive” to the potential of a defined contribution plan.

Also, a wage proposal was advanced from the JSA.

They asked for a 12 percent lump sum payment, making up for post-2010 losses from the 2 percent pay cut; a 7.5 percent pay raise effective October 2017, retroactive to the previous year; a 9.5 percent raise effective in October 2018, and a second 9.5 percent effective in 2019.

The JSA proposal demands equitability among all general employee unions.

The city offered to modify its proposal in response, boosting numbers incrementally, yet falling short of the JSA targets.

A 2 percent nonrecurring raise was proposed for this year, followed by more generous offers: a 4.5 percent hike next year, followed by 3.5 percent and 3 percent hikes in subsequent years. Thus, a 2 percent nonrecurring raise and an 11 percent total raise, contingent on defined contribution for new hires.

“We’re pretty far apart as far as our numbers,” Geiger said at the close of the morning session.

The afternoon negotiation saw the parties get a bit closer.

****

The parties reconvened at 12:30 p.m. for the second round of negotiations.

The JSA advanced a counter: a one-time lump sum consideration of 12 percent, then salary hikes of 7 percent for FY 2018 and 9 percent for FY 2019 and 2020.

This represented a 1.5 percent decrease from the original proposal from the JSA.

Geiger asked city negotiators to consider their position about the other unions, and the sacrifices they made.

The parties will reconvene at a date yet to be determined.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski



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