City of Santa Barbara, Union Employees Reach Agreement on Pay Raise

City Council Approved a Memorandum of Understanding with a 4 Percent Salary Increase

At the April 19 City Council meeting, hundreds of SEIU members spoke during public comment demanding pay increases. | Credit: Ryan P. Cruz

The City of Santa Barbara and Service Employees International Union Local 620 General Unit (SEIU) reached an agreement on a new contract after a few months of negotiation between the two sides, which recently culminated in hundreds of purple-shirted unionized employees packing City Hall to demand cost-of-living increases for city workers.

Some SEIU reps had asked for pay increases as high as 8.5 percent, citing the country’s inflation rates, Santa Barbara’s increasing rent prices, and what they called a history of inadequate pay adjustments; the city’s two previous salary increases, in 2020 and 2021, were both at 2.5 percent.

For the new contract, covering 2022 through 2024, the city agreed to an across-the-board salary increase of 4 percent for all classifications, effective June 18, and another increase of 4 percent on March 27, 2023. City employees will also receive a raise of at least 5 percent upon promotion to a higher position.

The memorandum of understanding, approved by the City Council on Tuesday, will expire on March 31, 2024, and both sides will get an opportunity to renegotiate before the next two-year term.

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