But Layoffs May Still Be Necessary; Union Vote Upcoming
By JENNA CARLESSO
September 05, 2012
HARTFORD —— The city has reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract with the union that represents about 530 city employees.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 4 Local 1716 reached the agreement with the city late Friday, a spokesman for the union, Larry Dorman, said.
A source familiar with negotiations said the contract is a four-year deal that runs from the fiscal year 2011-12 through 2014-15.
Local 1716 is currently working under a contract that expired in June 2011.
Dorman said the union and the city had been in negotiations for more than a year. He described the talks as "cordial" and "respectful."
"In the end, we were able to get a tentative agreement and now we've got to bring it to our members for approval," Dorman said Wednesday.
He said the agreement "protects the services our members provide and also provides savings to city of Hartford taxpayers." Dorman declined to elaborate on the specifics of the contract, saying the union would release more information once its members reviewed the agreement.
The contract will now go before the union for a vote, probably within the next seven to 10 days, he said.
If approved by the union, the contract will then go to the city council for a vote.
Mayor Pedro Segarra declined to comment Wednesday.
The tentative agreement was reached the same day that Segarra announced he would likely lay off at least 12 city employees later this month in an effort to balance his 2012-13 budget, which was adopted in May. The mayor had been counting on $1 million in union concessions that apparently haven't materialized.
A majority of the layoffs would target middle management, Segarra has said, and the average savings per employee would be about $80,000. He said those being laid off are expected to be notified Sept. 21, and their last day of work would be Oct. 7.
In addition, Segarra said, all non-union classified and unclassified city employees who make more than $45,000 per year will be required to take furlough days.
A source familiar with city hall operations said that even if the new Local 1716 contract is approved, the mayor would still likely have to proceed with layoffs to help balance the budget.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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