The city of Redding and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have reached an agreement that will provide for the furlough of employees 26 times per year, helping significantly reduce expenditures in the city’s 2011-2013 biennial budget.
The furloughs are the result of a “side letter” negotiated between the city and the bargaining unit, which represents approximately 300 clerical, technical and professional employees within the city. They generally will coincide with planned closures of City Hall and some other city facilities every other week, beginning in July, to help reduce costs.
In addition to SEIU employees, a majority of employees not represented by a bargaining unit also will take the 26 unpaid furlough days. The resulting savings to the city’s General Fund budget will total nearly $900,000 – a significant portion of the estimated $3 million reductions that must be made.
Redding Mayor Missy McArthur praised SEIU members and leadership for their willingness to accept the furloughs, which represent a salary reduction of approximately 10 percent.
“In this time of very difficult decisions, we applaud the SEIU and its members for sharing in this effort,” McArthur said. “We understand that this was not an easy choice to make, but it is very significant in helping the city to continue to be financially sound and responsible.”
Employees represented by the SEIU throughout the city voted on the proposal to take the unpaid furlough days. A strong majority of the members voted in favor of the furloughs, said Ann Mooney, Field Representative for SEIU Local 1021.
“Our members are just like city residents and folks throughout the nation who understand that tough times require cooperation to solve problems,” said Mooney. “City residents and businesses will see an impact, but furloughs are a solution that many cities and counties have used to keep government services intact.”
The closure of City Hall and the Recreation Center on Parkview Avenue – and accompanying furloughs – are planned to last through June 2013. However, changes in the economy and the city’s financial situation could cause that to be reduced or extended, said Barry Tippin, assistant city manager and personnel director.
Additional information about specific City Hall closure days will be made public in the near future. The public will be kept informed through public service announcements and information on the City’s web site.
-from press release