The Watsonville firefighter union signed off on a two-year agreement with the city that will prevent the layoffs proposed last month, City Manager Carlos Palacios announced at Tuesday night's City Council meeting.
“We were able to reach an agreement this afternoon after many weeks and actually months of hard work," Palacios said.
that would cost four firefighters their jobs. The cost-saving measure also proposed laying off eight police officers, but the police union was able to that saved the jobs.
In both negotiations, the public safety employees agreed to a two-tier retirement system where new employees would have fewer pension benefits than current staff. The fire department also will start paying more of their retirement plans—a total of 19 percent of the contributions to the funds. That amounts to a 9.5 percent salary savings for the city.
Palacios said it helps the city balance its projected $1.9 million budget shortfall.
"It’s very good news," Palacios said.