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Metro Newsroom

Mayor Meets With Union Leaders to Discuss Alternatives to Employee Layoffs

Tuesday November 25, 2008

Pay Raise Rollbacks, More Furloughs Among Options To Close Shortfall

Mayor Jerry Abramson began meeting today with union leaders to discuss options for closing the $20 million hole in the city’s budget.

The mayor is meeting over the next several days with leaders from AFSCME, Teamsters, Firefighters and Fraternal Order of Police unions to discuss ways to reduce personnel costs, which account for about two-thirds of the city’s $500 million General Fund budget.

Abramson said he’s exploring options for reducing spending without resorting to large numbers of layoffs that could impact city services. Unions represent about three-fourths of the city’s 6,000 employees.

Among the options he’s discussing with union leaders is rolling back the 2-percent annual raises for employees effective Jan. 1, 2009. The raise rollback option for all city employees, both union and non-union, would save about $2.6 million over six months. That’s equivalent to the salaries and benefits of about 100 employees for six months.

“It’s going to take shared sacrifice across government to avoid a significant number of layoffs,” Abramson said. “I’m hopeful that we can work together to keep people working and to maintain basic services.”

Last week, Abramson announced several initial steps to close the revenue shortfall, the result of a global economic downturn that’s hitting Louisville and impacting the city’s occupational tax revenues. The actions include:

· An immediate hiring freeze and restrictions on travel and discretionary spending

· Closing government offices for three selected days and placing all non-essential employees on unpaid furlough

· A 10-percent pay cut for Abramson and the city’s top leadership team effective Jan. 1, 2009