(Seattle, WA) Mayor Mike McGinn and the City Council announced a new significant agreement with city labor unions to save taxpayer dollars. In addition, the mayor announced two other cost-saving measures.

(Seattle, WA) Mayor Mike McGinn and the City Council announced a new significant agreement with city labor unions to save taxpayer dollars. In addition, the mayor announced two other cost-saving measures.

New agreements with labor will save millions of dollars
The city of Seattle and the Coalition of City Unions have reached a tentative agreement to open currently closed agreements that if successfully ratified by union members could affect approximately 6,000 City workers. Under the terms of the agreement, employees would accept a .6 percent cost of living increase (COLA) in January 2011, which is equal to actual inflation based on the parties’ Consumer Price Index (CPI), rather than a 2 percent minimum or “floor”.  In addition to addressing wages for 2011, the agreement also extends labor contracts through December 2013 with wage increases for 2012 and 2013 tied to CPI formulas rather than a 2 percent “floor”.  This will result in savings of $2.3 million in the General Fund for 2011 and $3.4 million in the non-General Funds.

Although the City’s labor contracts for the 19 unions that make up the Coalition of City Unions are not open for negotiations until the end of 2011, the City approached the Unions requesting they open negotiations now to address labor costs as a part of the City’s efforts to balance its 2011 budget.  In exchange for these wage concessions, the City has agreed to remove certain conditions that prevented Unions from grieving contracting out, as well as maintaining current healthcare arrangements through 2013. 

As the city faces a budget shortfall in the General Fund approaching $67 million, as well as financial pressures in the non-General Funds, the willingness of employees to enter into this agreement will allow the City to preserve more direct services and jobs.

City freezes pay of senior-level employees
The mayor’s 2011 Proposed Budget, which will be transmitted to the Seattle City Council on September 27, 2010, will also recommend providing no market rate adjustment for City employees in so-called discretionary pay bands in 2011.

Customarily incumbents in these positions are provided COLA adjustments on par with what represented employees would receive.  This action will save the City’s General Fund an additional $700,000 and $1.5 million in the non-General Funds.

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