Gavin Rethinking Mass Layoffs

City Employees may prefer furloughs to shorter weeks

By Jackson West
|  Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010  |  Updated 2:15 PM PDT
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Gavin Newsom stepped back from the brink of laying off thousands of city workers, who apparently would rather be furloughed, anyway.

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San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is back at the bargaining table, after being threatened with a lawsuit if he went forwarded with his plan to lay off over 15,000 city employees and then rehire them at 37.5 hour week.

The mayor, who's big on asking critics to propose solutions instead of just getting angry, got what he wished for from unions, who are suggesting employees might prefer furloughs to a cut in hours.

"If you have to take off the time, you may as well take the time in one big chunk. And our membership is open to that; we've gotten feedback from them," Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21 Chapter President Gus Vallejo told the San Francisco Weekly.

Of course, when furloughs were mandated by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for state employees, the reaction from unions was swift and negative.

But then, that's because the governor instituted his plan by fiat, rather than through negotiation.

And if Newsom pulls a similar stunt and leaves the bargaining table, union leaders promise to take him to court.

Jackson West can barely afford to work, much less enjoy these "days off" everyone seems to find so enjoyable.

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