Jail guards agree to pay decrease

STANISLAUS COUNTY, CA &#8211 Cutting 6 percent of Stanislaus County jail guards’ pay would save more than $1 million per year, according to an agreement ratified by custodial deputies, which is going before county leaders this morning.

The Stanislaus County Deputy Sheriff’s Association becomes the eighth of 12 unions agreeing to salary decreases to preserve jobs and provide longer- term contract stability. The reduction would take effect in July, when 5 percent temporary cuts expire, for a net 1 percent decrease.

Although most unions have ratified reductions, holdouts include a majority of county employees. They include American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 10, which represents 1,979 workers, or more than 53 percent of the county’s work force.

AFSCME continues negotiating, and the 67-member Stanislaus County Attorney’s Association is expected to begin bargaining in March. The county’s second-largest union, Service Employees International Union Local 521, with 569 members, and another unit representing 81 nurses have yet to begin talks.

With 3,710 workers, the county is by far the region’s largest employer, despite having shed about 1,000 jobs since the recession began. Despite downsizing payroll and slicing programs, the county continues to face multimillion-dollar deficits and must break an addiction to balancing its budget with one-time funds such as grants and rollovers from previous years, a report says.

Seven unions representing 790 workers previously agreed to lower wages in November, saving about $4.4 million.

Under the current 5 percent cut, workers were given 13 days off each year, amounting to furloughs. They will get only six days off with permanent, 6 percent reductions.

Salaries and benefits account for 37 percent of the county’s budget and 53 percent of its general fund.

From The Modesto Bee.