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Two L.A. unions ratify concessions on 2nd attempt

Mayor Villaraigosa abandons plan for 42 furlough days as workers approve delayed raises and a 4% pay cut. Another union fails to OK the deal and a fourth rejected further voting.

May 28, 2011|By David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times

Two of the four employee groups that rejected Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's plan for worker concessions last month have ratified it on the second go-round — sparing them from dozens of unpaid days off in the coming year, union officials said Friday.

Villaraigosa said he will abandon plans for up to 42 furlough days for 5,500 clerks, security guards and other city workers who had originally balked at more employee givebacks.

The agreement between the city and civilian employee unions delays a package of raises and requires a 4% pay cut, with proceeds going to pay for the rising cost of retirement benefits. Workers also will receive a 1.5% reduction in salary in exchange for days off during Christmas week.

A third bargaining unit, which represents about 300 employees, failed to ratify the agreement on the second try, city officials said. A fourth group representing city attorneys opted not to hold another vote, said City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, the city's top budget official.

Villaraigosa's deputy chief of staff, Matt Szabo, said the results of the vote mean that 95% of the full-time employees represented by the Coalition of L.A. City Unions have now backed the agreement, which is considered critical toward balancing next year's budget.

The employee agreement had been touted as a path toward "security and stability" by Cheryl Parisi, executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, District Council 36, which is part of the union coalition. She said the pact would guarantee healthcare coverage for her employees once they retire and prohibit furloughs in the coming year.

"Everybody has stability about the fact that they have a right to a 40-hour work week," she said.

Villaraigosa and the council are still hoping to negotiate $41 million in concessions from the Police Protective League, which represents rank-and-file officers. That figure is the amount needed to balance the budget in the fiscal year that starts July 1.

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