San Diego police and firefighters set for pay raises of over 3% in new labor deals

San Diego police officers patrol along Ocean Beach to enforce COVID-19-related activity rules in May 2020.
San Diego police officers patrol along Ocean Beach to enforce COVID-19-related activity rules in May 2020.
(Sam Hodgson / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

New labor deals announced June 25 include pay raises of 3.2 percent for San Diego’s 1,900 police officers and 3.5 percent for many of the city’s 900 firefighters.

The raises are smaller than those given in May to the city’s 150 deputy city attorneys, 4,000 white-collar workers and 1,800 blue-collar workers.

Deputy city attorneys got 12 percent raises over the next two years, blue-collar workers got 8 percent raises over two years and white-collar workers got 9 percent over two years.

Those deals also included much larger pay hikes for workers in targeted jobs for which the city pays less than other government agencies. For example, 640 city engineers got 29 percent increases.

Most workers will get roughly 10 percent raises over two years, but some targeted positions are getting much more

The latest agreements would increase police officer pay by 3.2 percent and firefighter pay by 2.5 percent on July 1. Then on Jan. 1, firefighters in many job classifications would get additional 1 percent raises and battalion chiefs, air operations chiefs and assistant fire marshals would get additional 5 percent raises.

The tentative agreements, negotiated by Mayor Todd Gloria, are scheduled for a vote by the City Council at its meeting Tuesday, June 29. The council approved deals with the three other unions June 8.

The collective pay raises negotiated by the mayor are expected to cost the city roughly $100 million per year when they fully kick in.

Gloria said the increased compensation will help address a 12.9 percent vacancy rate across city departments, which he blamed for delays in residents receiving services.

The mayor offered smaller increases to police and firefighters because their salaries aren’t significantly lower than their counterparts in other cities.

For example, police officers, who got a package of raises in 2017 totaling more than 30 percent, have moved closer to the median salary for law enforcement in the region.

“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,” Gloria said in a statement. “These agreements will help us attract and retain top-flight personnel, enhance public safety and support working families.”


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