Newsom Shows He Knows How to Compromise

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    Gavin Newsom strikes a compromise.

    San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced Friday a tentative  agreement with city employees' unions to institute 12 furlough days over a  two-year period as an alternative to the mayor's proposal to reduce the work  hours of about 15,000 employees.

    The agreement, which amounts to about a 5 percent pay cut, would  help by "not only preserving city jobs, but preserving city services in San  Francisco," Newsom said.

    Several employee unions had been in discussions with the mayor's  office in recent weeks to find an alternative to Newsom's proposal to lay off  thousands of employees and hire most of them back at 37.5 hours per week, a  proposal many unions had criticized.

    The City, which employs about 26,000 people, is facing an  estimated $522 million general fund budget deficit.
         
    The two-year agreement announced Friday still has to be ratified  by each union that Newsom said will hopefully take place within the next few  weeks.

    Bob Muscat, executive director of the International Federation of  Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21, said union leaders "all feel  confident that our members will be willing to ratify these agreements when  they're completed because they're the best thing for them and for the people  that live in San Francisco."

    Muscat, whose union represents about 4,000 engineers, architects,  and Internet technology and public health employees, said the agreement  should be looked upon favorably because it is not permanent, and will likely  reduce child care and transportation costs for the workers.

    The agreement is estimated to save the city nearly $100 million  annually, according to Newsom.

    He said more employees will be included in the furlough agreement  than had been in the reduced work hours proposal, but essential services such  as police and fire will be excluded.

    Newsom said the framework still needed to be worked out for which  days will be furloughed, but wanted to avoid the "terrible process" by which  state workers have been furloughed.