City workers could lose their job protection next week.
As The City struggles to provide basic services, it must close a budget deficit of $384.6 million. The deficit would have been more severe had not labor unions agreed to a two-year union labor give-back deal for the current and next fiscal years valued at about $230 million.
The deal contained a job protection provision, negotiated by the city’s largest labor union, SEIU 1021, that prohibited layoffs this fiscal year. However, if a budget report due out next month shows the deficit remains in excess of $300 million, as is expected, then the provision will be lifted and The City could begin layoffs.
The budget deficit comes on the heels of larger deficits in previous years. The City closed a $522 million deficit for the current fiscal year, which began July 1, and a $575 million budget deficit the year before. Funding for street repaving, Muni, police academy classes and fire services remain a tough balancing act, and, in the past, were the subjects of heated budget battles.
Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee chair Carmen Chu said she has heard of no plans for layoffs this year. And while layoffs are possible next fiscal year, she said there are other solutions such as labor groups forgoing raises.
San Francisco has 26,108 workers, down from the high of 10 years ago when The City had 28,060 employees.
Gabriel Haaland, the political director of SEIU 1021, said after years of deficits and cuts The City has already “cut so close to the bone” and more layoffs would impair its basic functioning on “a day-to-day level.”
Mayor Ed Lee, who must submit a proposed city budget to the Board of Supervisors by June 1, has not made a decision about layoffs.