LADWP labor union ratifies new contract

Will postpone an Oct. 1 pay raise

9/25/2013, 5:21 p.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Members of the labor union that represents Los Angeles Department of Water and Power workers ratified a proposed contract with the city that would postpone an Oct. 1 pay raise, union officials announced today.

The agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18 — which represents 8,500 DWP employees — still needs the approval of

the Department of Water and Power Commissioners and the Los Angeles City Council.

Union members voted in favor of the four-year contract by a three-to-one margin, according to the union. The contract would take effect Oct. 1 if it receives final approval.

“This contract makes sense and results in billions of dollars of savings for the city and DWP ratepayers,” said Brian D’Arcy, the union’s business manager and financial secretary.

“I would like to thank the membership of Local 18 and all of our officers,” he said. “We have addressed a number of substantive issues in a thoughtful and mutually satisfactory way.”

When the deal was announced earlier this summer, Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city leaders hailed the agreement as the first step toward closing a widely criticized salary disparity between DWP employees and other city workers.

Garcetti, responding to the union’s ratification vote, said IBEW members “delivered a strong mandate to reform DWP and this contract contains significant ratepayer savings and clears the way for the further reforms we need to ensure DWP is efficient and accountable.”

DWP workers were scheduled to get a cost-of-living raise of about 2 percent on Oct. 1. The new agreement would delay that increase to 2016.

Top city officials project the new labor pact would save DWP $6.1 billion over three decades and help control the cost of utility rates, which are still expected to go up over the next three years.

The DWP is a city-owned utility, but is funded through the rates paid by its electricity and water customers. Personnel costs make up more than 20 percent of the DWP’s budget.