Unions Claim Accord With City
The Coalition of L.A. City Unions is claiming to have reached an agreement with the Los Angeles City Council that will preserve a June 26 accord to permit eligible employees to retire early.
"After around-the clock-negotiations resulted in a Tentative Agreement with City unions," said a coalition press release, "today the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to implement the Early Retirement Incentive Program (ERIP) that will allow 2,400 of the City's most senior - and highest paid - employees to retire early."
The sustainability of the June 26 agreement, which had been tentatively approved by the City Council, came into question almost immediately as the city's finances rapidly deteriorated. The pact also promised no layoffs or furloughs for the approximately 22,000 city employees represented by the coalition. Yet with L.A. reportedly bleeding $1 million a day, even the pro-labor Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa more or less declared the agreement dead two days ago.
The coalition statement did not spell out the formula by which City Hall and the unions will make up the more than $60 million shortfall the Chief Administrative Officer has said needs to be addressed. Instead, it said, "The cost of funding the ERIP will be entirely borne by civilian employees and retirees. Additionally, pursuant to the 'mutual gains' clause in the Coalition of LA City Unions' contract amendment, the Unions have tentatively agreed to identify additional savings to backfill the loss of savings from delayed implementation of the ERIP as well as a projected revenue shortfall."
According to the L.A. Times, however, "[n]egotiators for the city said they had persuaded the Coalition of L.A. City Unions to give up $78 million in 'hard concessions' and convince its 22,000 members to contribute an extra .37% of their paychecks toward the city's pension fund, covering more of the early retirement cost."
A report from City News Service (subscription only) says, "Sources familiar with the talks said labor leaders agreed to defer its members' pay raises and some cash bonuses. They also agreed to let the city transfer some of their members to proprietary departments like Los Angeles World Airports, the Department of Water and Power and the Port of Los Angeles."