Four unions–including two of the city’s largest–have rejected Mayor Pedro Segarra’s request for givebacks.
Segarra is counting on $3 million in union concessions to help balance the budget this fiscal year. He approached the bargaining units in 2013 for increased health care contributions — a move he said would help control costs.
But at least four have declined.
In a memo to Council President Shawn Wooden and Councilman Joel Cruz, Interim Chief Operating Officer Albert Ilg wrote:
“The City, as part of the adopted budgeted for FY 2013-2014, agreed to seek $3 million dollars in union concessions. The management of the City scheduled meetings with the Union in the fall of 2013 to begin concession talks. Four of the unions, MLA, CHPEA, 1716, and Police, were unwilling to grant concessions. Contributions from the School Crossing Guards, who are part-time seasonal workers, would have been de minims and the City did not pursue concessions from this bargaining unit. The Fire union agreed to pursue savings by way of the Healthcare Containment Cost Committee and the City is actively working with the Hartford Fire Union to achieve future savings. Additionally, the Human Resources staff is in the process of negotiating with HMEA a new contract. The union, when approached by City management in the fall expressed its intent and willingness to explore concessions as part of the collective bargaining process. Because we are actively engaged in negotiations we are unable to provide details of those efforts.”
Segarra in June put forth a series of proposals designed to increase pension contributions and end expensive health care programs for non-union city employees. The city council approved the measures in December. Segarra also raised the health care contributions for non-union employees.
The mayor began talks with union leaders about proposed health care changes this past fall. He did not provide figures for how much of an increase he was looking to get in the contributions. The contributions differ depending upon the union, he has said.
Segarra told the Courant in December that although the city will receive more money from the state than it had planned this year, layoffs are possible if concessions aren’t achieved.
“We don’t want to continue to eliminate jobs,” Segarra said. “If a different contribution system [were in place], they could at least have some sense of job security. It could benefit both sides.”
AFSCME local 1716 and the Hartford Police Union each represent more than 400 city employees.
We’ll have more on this later this week.