Bargaining moves from furloughs to layoffsby anonymous on January 13, 2013
When the bargaining committee for newly unionized workers at the City of Arlington met with management to bargain their first contract recently, the budget crunch forced furloughs to the forefront of the negotiations.
But bargaining on this issue proved to be a lot tougher than the committee members, who represent 60 City workers, had expected.
The bargaining committee, formed earlier this year, bargained over furloughs for several months, eventually getting close to agreement.
“Just at the end, the City announced that they had additional budget problems and that they would have to negotiate layoffs rather than just furloughs,” says Council Director of Organizing Bill Keenan. “So they had to go back and renegotiate the number of furlough days in the face of the layoffs. All the bargaining over the furloughs was toast.”
Keenan says the situation was the first of its sort that he has faced.
In three subsequent bargaining sessions, the local negotiated five layoffs and a reduced number of furlough days.
Now the local is bargaining on the main contract. The employees are trying to complete the negotiations by the end of the year so that the new contract can be in place for all of 2013.
But, given the recent history, it seems that anything can happen before then.