Negotiations continue as workweek plan lingers 

Thousands of city employees won’t have to be fired and rehired on a reduced schedule if Mayor Gavin Newsom is able to strike a deal with labor leaders as early as today.

The mayor has been in heavy negotiations with labor leaders for the past two weeks, extending moratoriums on implementing his budget-savings plan that includes a 37.5-hour workweek for most of the 17,000 employees that received pink slips this month.

The most recent moratorium ends today, and Newsom said he would like to reach an agreement even if it means negotiating through the weekend.

“I care we get this done and I hope we get this done [today]. And if for whatever reason we don’t get this done [tomorrow], I am going to consider what to do next,” Newsom said Thursday afternoon.

Without a done deal that would equate to $50 million in budget savings, Newsom would either move forward with implementing his plan for a shorter workweek or extend the moratorium another week while he continues negotiations.

On Thursday, the International Federation of Professional Technical and Administrative Employees Local 21 released an update, saying the Mayor’s Office asked that all employees contribute 2 percent of their salary toward retiree medical benefits as part of the proposed package. City employees hired before January 2009 are currently exempted from this contribution.

The Mayor’s Office would not confirm the proposal, but union leaders said they were adamantly against it, calling it a “permanent pay reduction.”

“There is no way we would agree to that,” said Bob Muscat, chair of the Public Employees Committee. “It really is more than what the situation calls for.”

Muscat said the group will meet with Newsom again today to discuss more proposals, including one that asks elected leaders to make concessions of their own that are equal to what city employees will be required to contribute.

“I feel optimistic,” Muscat said.

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