Villaraigosa's pact with labor unions could be just first step
Though Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's "watershed" labor agreement with city workers will help ease the city's budget crisis, its real importance could be something else: pressuring other city unions to follow, providing a multiplier effect -- and tens of millions of dollars in additional savings.
Almost half the workforce paid via the city's general revenues remains outside the deal.
By praising labor for granting significant concessions, the mayor -- a former union organizer -- is opting for a less-provocative approach than lawmakers who have faced off stridently with public-sector unions across the country. In return for their cooperation, members of the city union coalition covered by the agreement receive a significant benefit: a no-furlough guarantee for three years.
As a sign of his commitment, the mayor declared in a memo that the furloughs for covered employees -- some facing as many as 26 days off without pay -- would end as of next week, even before most workers vote on the tentative pact. But, he added, should the agreement not be ratified by April 20, "a requisite number of furlough days will be imposed."
-- Patrick J. McDonnell at Los Angeles City Hall
Photo: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Credit: Los Angeles Times