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Labor deal may be imminent at L.A. City Hall

September 18, 2009 |  9:21 am

Negotiators for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council scrambled to put the finishing touches on a deal to save an early retirement program for the city's civilian workforce while at the same time putting a dent in a $405-million budget shortfall.

The Coalition of L.A. City Unions, which has been pushing for early retirement, scheduled a 9 a.m. conference call between various civilian unions to discuss a potential deal. Minutes earlier, Villaraigosa and Council President Eric Garcetti were discussing progress on a potential agreement.

Any agreement would result in a council vote after 10 a.m.

"I feel very optimistic that we can have a vote today" on whether to save early retirement, said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who serves on the city's five-member negotiating committee.

Villaraigosa promised earlier this week to veto the early retirement program in its previous form, which would have allowed 2,400 workers to leave up to five years early. The city's top financial adviser has warned that the program would save only $12 million in this budget year and is part of a larger agreement that would limit the city's ability to make other cuts.

-- David Zahniser and Phil Willon at City Hall