Mayor Gloria Announces Tentative Agreements with Police Officers, Firefighters


SAN DIEGO – Furthering his commitment to invest in workers, strengthen City services and build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Todd Gloria today announced that he has reached tentative agreements with labor unions representing San Diego’s police officers and firefighters.

“Our police officers and firefighters – like all our City employees – work incredibly hard every day to serve and protect San Diegans, and they should be compensated fairly and in a way that demonstrates our appreciation for what they do,” Mayor Gloria said. “These agreements will help us attract and retain top-flight personnel, enhance public safety, and support working families.”

Under the agreements, all members of the SDPOA and San Diego City Firefighters Local 145 will receive raises on July 1 of 3.2 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively. Those who have specialized training or are in management roles will receive additional compensation.

The City Council must still vote to approve the tentative agreements with the San Diego Police Officers Association (SDPOA) and Local 145.

The Council approved agreements on June 8 with three other labor unions – American Federation of State, County and Municipal EmployeesLocal 127; the San Diego Municipal Employees Association (MEA); and the Deputy City Attorneys Association (DCAA). Members of those unions will receive a 4 percent raise on July 1.

The agreements with Local 145, Local 127, MEA and DCAA provide wage increases over the next two years. SDPOA’s agreement is for one year. The increased compensation will help address the current 12.9 percent vacancy rate across City departments and subsequent delay in services, including those offered on the City’s “Get It Done” mobile application.

A 2020 audit showed a major factor behind employee turnover was significant pay gaps compared to other California jurisdictions. For example, City of San Diego white-collar workers with five years of experience made 26 percent less than their counterparts in other cities. The agreements between the City and its employees will position the City to be a more attractive regional employer through compensation and benefits.

Most City employees only received modest salary increases in the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years after years of stagnant wages.

In 2012, Proposition B mandated a five-year pay freeze and eliminated pensions for all new employees. City employees do not pay into social security, which meant benefits were limited to a 401(k)-style retirement plan. Though backers of the measure claimed other cities would follow suit, they never did. That resulted in the City’s retirement benefits being less desirable than what other agencies offer.

On June 8, the City Council approved the Mayor’s proposal to allow new employees hired after July 10, 2021, to join the City of San Diego’s retirement system.

The rightsizing of employee compensation was factored into Mayor Gloria’s proposed “Back to Work SD” budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1 and his five-year plan to overcome the structural budget deficit left in place by the previous administration.

The new agreements will also bolster Mayor Gloria’s efforts to address wage disparities revealed in San Diego’s first public pay equity study earlier this year.