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Calexico City Council could decide labor dispute by mid-month

February 02, 2001|By RICHARD MONTENEGRO, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — After months of trying to come to terms on the issue of bilingual pay, contract negotiations between one city employees' union and the city could be decided Feb. 20.

On Tuesday, the miscellaneous employees' association, which represents 70 city clerical and support staffers, is expected to approve a resolution of impasse with the city over stalled labor negotiations.

Opting against a state mediator to resolve its employment contract dispute with the city, the association will take its case to the Calexico City Council during its Feb. 20 meeting.

At that time, association president Gloria Grijalva said, the City Council can resolve the matter.

"We skipped a state mediator and requested to just go directly to the City Council," Grijalva said. "Then we would have to accept whatever it is they want to give us."


The city's remaining bargaining units representing city police officers, firefighters, supervisors and water and wastewater plant operators have already agreed to a 7-percent raise that included 3 percent paid retroactively to July, 3 percent retroactive to September and 1 percent that took effect in January.

The miscellaneous employees were being offered only 4-percent because of a 3-percent bilingual stipend awarded to the association last year.

The city wants to convert last year's bilingual stipend into a cost-of-living increase and apply it to this year's raise.

Grijalva said the association will not agree to that.

Still, she said the association is open to accepting the 4-percent raise if the association's longevity pay is increased to the level received by water and wastewater plant operators.

Specific figures associated with the longevity pay weren't available this morning. However, Grijalva said the increased longevity pay would affect the city's general fund by about $22,000.

"We are willing to cut a deal," she said.

Calexico City Councilman John Renison said, "We need to be open and not close our minds to any proposal they may have."

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