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Compton reaches pact with unions to save $1 million a year

January 18, 2012 |  3:31 pm

Unions representing Compton's employees have reached an agreement with the city that will save it about $1 million a year through 2014 without further layoffs.

The city, which is struggling to recover from a massive general fund deficit, laid off dozens of employees last summer in an attempt to balance the budget. City officials said last month that unless the unions agreed to concessions, they would need to initiate another round of 35 layoffs.

The agreement, ratified by the unions and approved unanimously Tuesday night by the City Council, includes furloughs, changes to the employee dental plan contribution and elimination of vision benefits, cellphone allowances and uniform allowances for firefighters, as well as a reduction in firefighter holiday pay.

The agreement bars the city from more layoffs without trying more options first and returning to the negotiating table.

It also requires the city to address procedural problems with the way the layoffs were carried out last summer. Employees said the city violated its own policies in the way it carried out the layoffs and cut the jobs of some people who should have stayed based on seniority.

City employees expressed mixed emotions about the agreement.

"I'm happy, but I'm not, because nobody wants to go through any of this. But I'm happy that we're not losing any more jobs and the current city manager wants to correct things," said James Walker, a city maintenance worker and president of the SEIU 721 Compton chapter.


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-- Abby Sewell