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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Up to 15,000 City Workers Bracing for Pink Slip Friday

Posted By on Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 11:35 AM

As many as 15,000 unionized city workers are anticipating layoffs on Friday in part of a work-week reduction plan in which most of them will be re-hired at reduced, 37.5-hour weeks.

"We met with the mayor last week and the city basically said there are budget problems and we're looking to lay off 10,000 to 14,000 workers," said Gus Vallejo, the IT chapter president of the engineers' Local 21. "Notices are supposed to go out Friday."

As if preparing for heavy layoffs, the Department of Human Resources yesterday released a memo on the mass-expediting of the process, complete with a reference to the the page to see what lies in wait for them. For most, their new hours and assignments will supposedly already be waiting. 

The 3,000-strong Local 21, meanwhile, claims that such a forced work week reduction would be a violation of their contract -- though labor says the City Attorney disagrees. Vallejo promised "We'll lawyer up" if members are dismissed as part of the 37.5-hour scheme.

Local 21's argument hinges on the fact that they are in the midst of a "closed contract" -- the terms have ostensibly been set through 2011. Other unions, such as the SEIU, have a re-opening "kicker" should the city's deficit grow to more than $100 million (it has), while other unions have built-in raises in their contracts that may also prove problematic for the city's plans.

San Francisco layoff notices must preceede the actual layoffs by no fewer than 60 days -- so pink slips sent out this week wouldn't take effect until May. Deputy city controller Monique Zmuda last month told SF Weekly that the city was preparing small, medium, and large work week reduction plans; the $50 million figure floated to the press was the medium one.

Union stewards, meanwhile, will meet tomorrow with city officials to continue parsing the details of the forthcoming layoffs.

SF Weekly's calls to the controller's office were shunted to the mayor's office and press office -- which has not replied. Our calls to the Mayor's Budget Office and city Department of Human Resources have not been returned either.

H/T   |   Melissa Griffin

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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