September 10, 3:44 PM click here to comment > 1
New agreements with labor will save millions of dollars
Mayor Mike McGinn and the City Council today announced a new significant agreement with city labor unions to save taxpayer dollars. In addition, the mayor announced two other cost-saving measures.
1. New agreements with labor will save millions of dollars
The city of Seattle and the Coalition of City Unions have reached a tentative agreement to open currently closed agreements that if successfully ratified by union members could affect approximately 6,000 City workers. Under the terms of the agreement, employees would accept a .6 percent cost of living increase (COLA) in January 2011, which is equal to actual inflation based on the parties’ Consumer Price Index (CPI), rather than a 2 percent minimum or “floor”. In addition to addressing wages for 2011, the agreement also extends labor contracts through December 2013 with wage increases for 2012 and 2013 tied to CPI formulas rather than a 2 percent “floor”. This will result in savings of $2.3 million in the General Fund for 2011 and $3.4 million in the non-General Funds.
“I appreciate the Coalition for working with us to address the budget deficit,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “Our city employees do their best everyday to provide excellent public services. Their support for this agreement helps us meet the challenge ahead in serving our communities in these very difficult times.”
Although the City’s labor contracts for the 19 unions that make up the Coalition of City Unions are not open for negotiations until the end of 2011, the City approached the Unions requesting they open negotiations now to address labor costs as a part of the City’s efforts to balance its 2011 budget. In exchange for these wage concessions, the City has agreed to remove certain conditions that prevented Unions from grieving contracting out, as well as maintaining current healthcare arrangements through 2013. Other items in the agreement include the creation of a systematic process to review management and employee suggestions to find cost savings through workplace efficiencies and process redesign, and that the City will continue to address citywide “span-of-control” issues.
“I want to thank the Coalition of City Unions for their cooperation. It’s important that we all work together to balance the budget in these difficult times,” said Budget Committee Chair Jean Godden.
As the city faces a budget shortfall in the General Fund approaching $67 million, as well as financial pressures in the non-General Funds, the willingness of employees to enter into this agreement will allow the City to preserve more direct services and jobs.
2. City freezes pay of senior-level employees
The mayor’s 2011 Proposed Budget, which will be transmitted to the Seattle City Council on September 27, 2010, will also recommend providing no market rate adjustment for City employees in so-called discretionary pay bands in 2011. Customarily incumbents in these positions are provided COLA adjustments on par with what represented employees would receive. This action will save the City’s General Fund an additional $700,000 and $1.5 million in the non-General Funds.
3. Mayor’s Office rolls back inflationary increases for non-personnel expenses
Finally, in keeping with the low inflation rates, the mayor’s 2011 Proposed Budget will also roll back inflationary increases for non-personnel expenses for a citywide savings of $1.1 million.
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Posted by: Aaron Pickus, Spokesperson