City Hall reeling after news of layoffs

March 3, 2010 6:42:27 PM PST
A high-stakes legal battle is brewing in San Francisco, now that the mayor has announced plans to lay off 15,000 workers and cut the hours of those rehired. Labor unions are threatening to sue.

With or without the mayor's plan there will be layoffs; he says thousands more if he cannot cut the work week. Meanwhile ABC7 obtained a city memo informing managers of helpful workshops that have been developed including one called "Delivering Bad News to Your Employees."

"It's going to be a lot of pain. It's going to be a lot of crying. It's going to be a lot of suffering," said San Francisco city worker Rose Gonzalez.

San Francisco City Hall is reeling one day after Mayor Gavin Newsom announced a cost saving plan to lay off 15,000 of 26,000 city employees. He said most but not all would be rehired, if they are willing to work 37.5 hours a week rather than 40. That amounts to a six percent pay cut.

"Some job is better than no job, even if it is a cut," said Mayuko Saul, an appraiser in the assessor's office.

But not everyone agrees. Her union and others representing the city workforce are preparing to sue over the reduced work week.

"The union's position is that the plan is not legal, it sidesteps the existing collective bargaining agreements, and we don't think he's really going to be able to implement it," said Bob Muscat from IFPTE, Local 21.

When reminded that labor is pushing back and considers the situation illegal, Newsom said, "And if they are successful in that, who gets hurt? Just play this out. If they succeed, then they force me to do layoffs."

The mayor predicts massive layoffs as the city faces its worst budget mess in history.

His short work week plan would shave $50 million from the projected $522 million deficit and another $50 million overall. But the unions say there has got to be a better way for their employees who've made concessions six of the last eight years.

"One alternative is a closure between Christmas and New Year's or an increase in the number of furlough days," said Muscat.

"We have 10 to 12 furloughs already. How many days off can you have as a city employee?" asked Newsom.

There will be a lot of suggestions tossed around in coming days. The Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing next week. Budget Chair John Avalos said he hopes there will be other alternatives to solving the budget crisis.


Load Comments