Classified Employees Approve Agreement

The local California School Employees Association chapter has voted overwhelmingly to ratify a bargaining agreement with the Long Beach Unified School District. The agreement is subject to a vote by the Board of Education. Approximately 93 percent of CSEA Unit A employees and 97 percent of Unit B employees voted in favor of the agreement. Negotiators agreed to a 2.26 percent raise retroactive to July 1, 2004. The raise is the same as the amount recently approved for the school district’s non-represented and management employees. The bargaining teams also reached agreement on changes to employee health benefit plans. To reduce costs, the district is closing its CCN health plans to CSEA members and instead re-opening PacifiCare HMO and Blue Shield HMO, a move that will save an estimated $3.9 million. The same arrangement for non-represented employees will save an estimated $1.5 million. The district continues to offer Blue Shield PPO and Kaiser plans to classified and non-represented employees. As part of the tentative agreement, the district has rescinded eight layoffs of employees approved November 1 by the Board of Education. The school district also has reversed the negative effects of job transfers, or "bumping," that occurred when jobs were eliminated earlier this year. The transfers were part of a cost-savings plan that eliminated 32 non-teaching positions. In all, 21 CSEA employees were moved, some to comparable positions with comparable pay, some to similar positions with reduced hours, and others to positions that paid less. For employees who saw a reduction in pay, the school district has now restored these workers to previous or comparable positions. For other employees whose hours were reduced, the school district is providing additional hourly compensation until comparable positions become available.