Regarding Barbara Gilbert’s outrageous article, “Contract approval with SEIU Local 1021 was a bad decision” (July 20):
Actually, the city got a remarkably good deal: a labor contract that (1) does not include a cost of living increase for the workers; (2) provides a two-tier retirement system and (3) generates at least $1,200,000 in savings for the length of the contract.
These are inflationary times, and this contract will make it harder for lower grade civil servants to pay the rent and feed their families.
The two-tier retirement system is just as bad as the 401K fraud perpetrated on private sector workers. Like them, civil servants will face a poorer old age. The $400,000 in savings Gilbert mentions ($1,200,000 over three years) is not strictly speaking part of the contract. It is actually retirement money the city does not have to pay because CALPERS is now more than 70 percent funded (well above the national average).
— Phil McArdle, Berkeley resident