Newsom, union leaders reach new agreement

March 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Thousands of city employees in San Francisco have a decision to make in the coming weeks -- avoid layoffs by accepting pay cuts. However, there are some key city employees that are not a part of this deal.

The people who clean City Hall will be asked to pay a pay cut, but a few unions are holding out such as those that represent some of the biggest wage earners in the city.

San Francisco city workers need to agree to a five percent pay cut or face hundreds, maybe thousands of layoffs.

"Yeah they're frustrated, they're absolutely also frustrated, I'm frustrated, but everybody understands the major issue going on here and people don't want to see massive layoffs," says Larry Mazzola from Local 38, the plumbers union.

This includes a San Francisco janitor, who is a single mom and is about to put her kid through college. She did not want her face on camera, but she told us she will vote for the pay cut.

"Oh yes, if it means everybody keeps their job, I'm OK [with that]. If everybody keeps their job it's a good thing for everybody," says the janitor.

Police, firefighters, Muni drivers and attorneys are also being asked to take the cut, but their unions have not agreed to take the vote to their members yet.

"Don't forget a lot of the $100,000 plus a year employees are attorneys: public defender's office, city attorney's office, D.A.'s office. We're negotiating separately with them," says Mayor Gavin Newsom.

"Everybody, the mayor, city employees, everybody else, including my union, has an interest in police fire, Muni and everybody else agreeing to the same shared sacrifice," says Bob Muscat from the Public Employee Committee.

Without them, this new plan saves the city about $80 million. The original proposal would have saved the city $100 million.

"We hope to get them in the fold as well and we're working with them to get them to do that," says Muscat.

This plan calls for city workers to have 12 unpaid days off in the next two years, amounting to a five percent pay cut. But the mayor emphasized he will stagger the days off so City Hall and its departments will always be open.

"It will be very strategically and thoughtfully done in a way where hopefully most impacts won't even be noticed," says Newsom.

This new plan takes the place of Newsom's more radical idea of laying off 17,000 workers and then re-hire most of them back for a 37.5 hour work week.

This new plan is going to affect more people, it spreads out the pain to more people, but it is a smaller pay cut.

The union members till have to vote on this. That vote might be one, two, or three weeks away.

San Francisco is facing a $522 million deficit.


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