Representatives from five Lodi city employee groups accused city negotiators on Wednesday of bargaining in bad faith by adding what they termed some "non-economic" items.
However, employee representatives wouldn't say what those non-economic items are.
"We shouldn't talk specifics (publicly)," said Sherry Moroz, president of the city's general services/maintenance and operations unit, outside Carnegie Forum after addressing the Lodi City Council on Wednesday.
The council chambers were packed for Wednesday's meeting, with most of those attending being city employees.
Brad Doell, president of the Lodi Professional Firefighters Union, Paul Blandford, president of the city Police Officers Association, Ron Penix, representing the fire department's mid-management employees, and Moroz objected to the city failing to stick to economic issues.
"We understand the financial strain the city is under," Doell told the council. "Your change of direction is unnecessary. We want to stick to economic items and don't want to discuss non-economic items."
Employees already gave up 10.9 percent in salary and benefit concessions in July, Moroz said after the hearing.
Public councils and boards in California have asked their employees to concede raises or improved benefit packages because of the economic downturn in an effort to avoid layoffs or reduce services to the community.
Lodi's employee groups have been generous in their concession talks, Doell said.
For example, employees have already agreed to several concessions, including eliminating the city's match to a retirement plan similar to a 401(k), no longer cashing out overtime hours and selecting the lowest-cost medical plan.
Every bargaining group in the city has also agreed to pay some of their pension costs, ranging from 1 percent to 7 percent. Previously, the city paid all of the employee and employer share of pension costs for all employees.
The four labor unit representatives who spoke to the City Council on Wednesday, along with Tom Casey, president of the Lodi Police Dispatch Association, signed a letter to the council about their concerns.
Lodi City Attorney Steve Schwabauer and Human Resources Manager Dean Gualco represent the city in negotiations with city groups except for the three police organizations. To avoid a conflict of interest, Gualco isn't negotiating with the police groups. Instead, Deputy City Manager Jordan Ayers is joining Schwabauer in those talks.
Gualco reportedly had a business with Lodi Police Sgt. Sierra Brucia, who was a lead negotiator for the officers' union.
Contracts with all employee unions except for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers will expire on Dec. 31. if a contract agreement isn't reached by New Year's Eve, their current contracts will be extended.
The electrical workers' contract is in effect until 2013.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.