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Eric Garcetti calls news conference after city reaches DWP labor deal

August 22, 2013|By David Zahniser
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti met privately with the union's top official at a restaurant in Silver Lake.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti met privately with the union's top… (Susannah Kay / Los Angeles…)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected to discuss a deal he and the City Council have reached with Department of Water and Power workers at a news conference Thursday morning.

The deal on a four-year package of salaries and benefits with the Local 18 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers came after Garcetti met privately with the union’s top official at a Silver Lake restaurant Wednesday.

Garcetti offered no details on what had transpired over the last 24 hours, saying in a brief statement: "I'm pleased that we reached an agreement that pushes forward with DWP reform. I look forward to joining with the council president and the City Council to announce further details tomorrow."

Garcetti met Wednesday evening with IBEW Local 18 business manager Brian D’Arcy at Edendale Grill, a Silver Lake restaurant, shortly before 7:30. A Garcetti spokesman refused to discuss the meeting.

Shortly after a Times reporter entered the restaurant and came into Garcetti's view, both men got up and left.

Backers of the deal contend that it will save $4 billion over 30 years, much of it in retirement savings. Garcetti said earlier this week that he was seeking additional salary concessions and changes that would allow city officials to rework costly or inefficient work rules.

Council members have been trying to lock down an agreement before a 2% pay increase goes into effect Oct. 1. That raise would be postponed for three years under the agreement.

"I'm on top of the world," said City Council President Herb Wesson, who is set to attend the news conference. "This was a tough process. It was a tough deal. You had to try to educate the public, which I think we did a decent job of trying to do and ... we had a mayor that wanted more. And at the end of the day, we have to give him credit for what we were able to get."

The council is scheduled to vote on the deal Friday. Even after that, the deal faces key hurdles. DWP employees must vote to ratify the agreement, a process expected to take around two weeks. The five-member board that oversees the utility would need to vote on key elements in the pact, including a reduction in the retirement benefits of future workers at the utility.


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