Four Concessions Decrease Hartford's $3.2 Million Revenue Gap
By BILL LEUKHARDT
June 30, 2009
HARTFORD - Concessions by four municipal unions won city council approval Monday night, moving the city closer to closing a $3.2 million revenue gap in the new budget that begins Wednesday.
The exact amount saved by the concession packages was not available at the meeting.
The contracts, covering more than 500 municipal employees, are with the Hartford Professional Employees Association; Local 1716, Council 4, AFSCME; the School Crossing Guards Association and Hartford Municipal Employees Association.
The Hartford firefighters union ratified an agreement with the city, approved June 8 by the council. Unions representing city police officers and municipal attorneys are still in discussions with the city and their memberships.
The police union is likely to meet today to discuss proposals to shave costs to help the cash-strapped city finance the $535 million budget for the new fiscal year. The exact status of any negotiations with the lawyers' association was not clear Monday night.
"Our membership made some concessions to help the city, including giving up some scheduled pay increases in July," Rhonda Moniz-Carroll, president of the Municipal Employees Association representing city supervisors, said after the council meeting. Both sides reached a practical balance, trimming costs while preserving jobs, she said.
Clarke King, president of Local 1716 representing 300 city workers, said in a statement that local members agreed to freeze wages for the first three years in a new contract retroactive to July 1, 2007.
The wage freeze and other concessions made in the new four-year contract were difficult but done "to preserve public services and get our city on the road to recovery," King said.
The trade-off that all four unions received for wage and benefit concessions was no layoffs in the new fiscal year, according to a statement issued before the meeting by Mayor Eddie A. Perez.
"Non-union employees are already scheduled to give back to the city in the coming year through furlough days and increased cost share of benefits," Perez said in his statement in anticipation of the concessions approved Monday night. "I'm happy that five of our unions are doing their part to help mitigate this financial crisis and I look forward to the police union joining us in helping navigate these difficult economic times."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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