It’s a month into the new fiscal year, and the city still hasn’t come to agreements on the labor negotiations with all of its employees.
Out of the six city unions, the contracts for four of the unions have expired as of the end of the last fiscal year, which ended June 30.
Several closed session City Council meetings have been held and City Manager Connie Jackson wouldn’t say what’s holding up the negotiations, citing the fact that the city is precluded from discussing ongoing contract negotiations. But Jackson said progress is being made.
“We all are working toward the objective of an agreement at the earliest possible time,” Jackson said Friday.
The four city unions whose contracts have expired include the police union, firefighters union, mid-managers union—which is composed of supervisors—and miscellaneous union—which is composed of all employees in non-managerial or non-public safety positions such as executive assistants and library staff members.
Jackson said it is not uncommon for multiple labor union contracts to expire at the same time. Neither is it uncommon for labor negotiations to carry over to the new fiscal year.
However, according to a source who is close to the issue, one point of contention during this year’s contract negotiations is that the employees in the miscellaneous union haven’t received a raise in five years and are generally paid 10 percent less than their counterparts in nearby cities.
The city is , but costs are expected to skyrocket for garbage, water and sewer services, and the city’s workforce has only increased by two employees.
On the flip side, since the employee contracts have expired, the city won’t have any more furloughs like last year because they ended with the contracts.
Jackson said there have been impasses in previous years, but she doesn’t anticipate that issue happening this year. (Police officer and firefighters aren’t allowed to go on strike.)
“The city’s interest is to continue negotiations in good faith,” Jackson said. “That appears to be what’s happening.”
Peter Finn, a spokesman for , which represents three of the city unions, said negotiations are expected to continue today and Wednesday, and the parties should have a better idea of where things stand by the end of the week.