City, labor agree to pension changes

Agreement strengthens health of plan and city finances

Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740

Monday, July 21, 2014 at Midnight

The City and its labor unions have agreed to changes to the Collective Bargaining Agreement that would strengthen the health of its pension plan and long-term finances.

The agreement requires new financial investments from the City and its employees and changes retirement compensation calculations. Those changes require an ordinance update that is before the City Council for consideration next week. They would take affect Jan 1.

“Driving better outcomes related to the City’s retirement plan is important for the future of our employees and our city,” said Spokane Mayor David Condon. “The changes are equitable to our employees and more affordable to citizens, help strengthen the health of the pension fund and represent another important step as we strengthen City finances.”

The agreement increases the contribution rate from 7.75 percent to 8.25 percent for all current and future members to better fund the system, and establishes a new tier for determining retirement compensation. It was done in partnership with Local 270, Local 270-Prosecutors, M&P-A&B, and Local 29 as a modification to their existing Collective Bargaining Agreements.

For employees hired after January 1, 2015, the agreement:

  • Stretches the calculation from highest two-consecutive-year average for compensation to highest three years
  • Extends the minimum retirement eligibility calculation from age 50 with a minimum of 25 years of service – something referred to as the “Rule of 75” – to age 50 with a minimum of 30 years of service – now the “Rule of 80”
  • Moves vesting from five years to seven years
  • Advances the normal retirement age from 62 to 65