Workweek plan returns as furloughs deal stalls 

Mayor Gavin Newsom is moving ahead with plans to rehire workers at reduced schedules as the largest labor union in The City refuses to sign a negotiated compromise that would save jobs.

Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents more than 13,000 city workers, will not accept a compromise of 12 furlough days and limited layoffs instead of Newsom’s original plan of reducing workweek hours from 40 to 37.5 and additional layoffs.

In March, the mayor issued across-the-board pink slips to all city workers with plans to rehire a portion under a shorter workweek, which amounts to a 4.62 percent wage reduction. During the past month, Newsom negotiated with labor groups who were blasting the mayor’s workweek proposal and threatening litigation.

Last week, Newsom announced that he would rescind the pink slips for those unions that agreed to the current deal for furlough days. The City agreed to other cost-saving measures as well, such as the selective closing of nonessential
services between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Newsom on Thursday issued 1,600 forms to SEIU workers that calls on them to return to work at the 37.5-hour workweek. The union represents workers that include health care employees, janitors, clerks and accountants.

The deal capped the number of layoffs at 500 by June 30, when Newsom must present a balanced budget to the Board of Supervisors, according to the Mayor’s Office.

However, the agreement doesn’t preclude future layoffs, but outlines specific terms for any more job reductions.

“The sticking point is the matter of layoffs,” said Steve Stallone, communications coordinator with Local 1021. “How many and when do they come?”

Newsom is meeting with union members again today to try to work out a deal.

“We are unwilling to accept conditions that they are so far insisting on,” said Tony Winnicker, Newsom’s spokesman. “And we are simply running out of time. We are up against a deadline, so we have to move forward.”

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