Public Unions Bring LA Near Bankruptcy

February 15, 2010 04:55

The crisis has put Mayor Villaraigosa, a former labor activist, squarely at odds with unions that represent 98 percent of L.A.’s municipal work force, which in turn accounts for 80 percent of the city budget.

Villaraigosa said last week he will propose the elimination of 1,200 to 2,000 city government jobs in next year’s budget, on top of 1,000 positions the mayor last week ordered to be cut over the next few months.

He hopes to achieve some cuts through attrition and by moving some workers into vacant positions in self-supporting agencies, such as the Department of Water and Power. But Villaraigosa has acknowledged that as many as 350 employees will likely be terminated in the initial round of cuts.

He also has suggested that large layoffs could be avoided if the unions were willing to accept pay cuts.

“If everybody took a 5 percent cut, it would add $150 million to the general fund,” the mayor said on Thursday at an event sponsored by the local business leaders.

Union officials have bristled at those proposals.   FULL STORY

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