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Labor Talks Reach Impasse

January 06, 1994|JILL GOTTESMAN

DOWNEY — Contract negotiations between the city and its two employee unions have reached an impasse, and some workers say they are considering a work slowdown later this month.

About 140 employees in City Hall and the Water Department have worked without a contract since October and without a raise since 1989. The employees include librarians, secretaries, engineers, planners, and maintenance workers.

The city has offered employees a 3% bonus, but the offer was rejected. The employees are seeking raises similar to those negotiated last summer by the city's police officers and firefighters, said Robin Nahin, a representative of the Downey City Employees Assn. and Downey Maintenance Employees Assn.

Police and firefighters signed two-year contracts last summer that contained annual 3% raises for 1993 and 1994.

Assistant City Manager Lee Powell said the city is tightening its belt because last year's $58-million budget left little in reserve.

Powell said the police and fire unions--which had also gone three years without raises--were given the increase because they provide priority services.

A state mediator is scheduled to meet with both sides Jan. 25, but the maintenance employees are considering a work slowdown, Nahin said.

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