When Mayor Pedro Segarra unveiled his proposed spending plan for fiscal year 2013-14, he said he would seek $3 million in employee concessions. The council ultimately adopted a budget that counts on the concessions.
We asked Segarra how he thought it was possible, given that last year’s budget counted on $1 million in concessions, and that target wasn’t met. (The mayor in turn laid off 14 city employees).
Segarra responded by saying the layoffs last year demonstrated that he is serious about reaching the concessions goal.
“This is going to be a shared-sacrifice budget,” he said in April, adding that non-union employees would face the same level of concessions as union workers. He also said he would begin meeting with the unions early in 2013-14, because the longer he waits, the more employees he would have to lay off if concession talks fall through.
But union leaders said recently that negotiations aren’t underway. In fact, some said they haven’t yet been approached.
Segarra said Wednesday morning that he hopes to begin talks by the end of the month (which is also the end of this week). By this time last year, he had already laid off 14 employees.
Several bargaining units, like the city’s police union and Local 1716 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 4, negotiated new contracts with the city last year (some of the contracts had expired years earlier). And union reps said they have already made sacrifices.
“It’s dispiriting and upsetting to hear the mayor wants more from the people who have given up time and time again,” Larry Dorman, a spokesman for Local 1716, told The Courant in April. “Our members have stepped up to the plate and made sacrifices. The mayor and representatives need to look elsewhere instead of continuing to balance the budget on the backs of the workers who provide the services citizens need.”
Segarra said he did not have a deadline for when the negotiations would be complete. “As soon as possible,” he said.