Members of the union that represents Oakland's 636 police officers have voted by an "overwhelming" margin to approve concessions that include paying 9 percent of their pension costs, the union's leadership has announced.
Oakland Police Officer's Association President Dom Arotzarena said about three-fourths of the union's membership voted on the concessions and a strong majority of those who voted approved the concessions, although he did not release exact figures.
Arotzarena said the union's current contract does not expire until 2013, but he said it agreed to reopen it and work on a revised contract that will last until June 30, 2015, "because we realized that the city is facing a huge financial crisis."
He said Oakland police officers "are digging deep in their pockets in this time of need" and the concessions mean they will be taking home $9,000 to $15,000 less a year.
The concessions will save Oakland about $65 million over the next four years, Arotzarena said.
In addition to contributing 9 percent of their pension costs, the officers agreed to delay previously negotiated cost-of-living increases until 2014 and give up two holidays per year through 2015.
The agreement also calls for entry-level pay for new hires to be reduced by 10 percent and for the retirement age for new officers to be raised to 55 instead of the current retirement age of 50.
In return for the police union's concessions, the city, which laid off 80 officers last year, agreed not to lay off any more officers or have
any officer furloughs for the next four years.
Arotzarena said, "Our concern was that our officers gave up so much that we wanted job security for them so they can come to work and have a job."