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Daley, Unions Work Out Agreement to Reduce City Layoffs

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Nov 17, 2008 8:45PM

2008_11_17_daley.jpgThere's news out of City Hall today and for the first time in weeks it doesn't involve Mayor Daley's Prophesies of Doom™. Instead, it seems the Mayor and union leaders have worked out an agreement that could greatly reduce the 929 planned layoffs in the city's 2009 budget. In exchange for offering eligible union members cash incentives for voluntary retirement, union leaders have agreed to reduce the cost of overtime for city workers.

"We have 433 eligible people in the Laborers pension fund. We're hoping around 60 will take advantage of it," Lou Phillips, business manager of Laborers Local 1001, said Monday.

"It would be a good thing for both us and the city…We have break-in rates of 60, 70, and 80 percent before you reach the 100 percent plateau. Hopefully, they'll be able to keep some of the 70 and 80 percent people and save money in the long run. It should save us up to 55 jobs."

But Phillips said, "I'm not happy about anybody getting laid off. I wish it could be zero."

Daley made a similar offer to non-union members earlier this year in an effort to save some dough, and it kinda sorta seemed to work. Back in August, he offered eligible employees between $12,000 and $20,000 to retire early and 156 employees took him up on the offer, forcing the city to pay out $2.6 million but also saving the city $10.9 million in payroll for 2009, for a grand total of $8.3 million in savings. Any layoffs have been put off until January 31, 2009 by the Mayor who, using some form of magical mayoral math, says that for every 12 union members that retire early, 11 jobs will be saved from elimination.

Photo of Mayor Daley by Marcus Gilmer