News & Events

City union agrees to one-year wage freeze (MS)

Read Original Article

One of the city’s largest unions has agreed to a one-year wage freeze, avoiding 50 layoffs and assuring its members job protection in a time of anticipated layoffs, Mayor Thomas M. Menino is expected to announce today at his annual speech before the Boston Municipal Research Bureau.

The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 93 agreed to forgo raises for one year, beginning in July. A scheduled 2.9 percent wage hike will be postponed to July 2010.

AFSCME represents 1,239 city workers, including parking compliance officers, tow truck drivers, and Police Department mechanics, with the largest concentrations in the departments of public works and transportation, parks and recreation, and inspectional services. Last year, the average salary of AFSCME members was $43,820.

It became the first large union to answer the mayor’s plea to halt wage increases to help stem the bleeding in the city budget, expected to be $131 million in the red next year.

AFSCME members will still get step increases for their increased tenure. The wage delay will save the city $1,462,000 next year, enough to save about 50 jobs, city officials said.

In return for the concession, the city also agreed that layoffs, which are probably still necessary, will not come from AFSCME’s bargaining unit.

"These are extraordinarily difficult times," said Jim Durkin, spokesman for AFSCME Council 93. "This agreement preserves the jobs of all of our members, and it takes some pressure off the taxpayers. We believe it’s a fair solution to a very difficult and very real crisis."

Earlier this week, Menino warned that layoffs were imminent and expressed frustration that more unions were not responding to his request for wage freezes to preserve their members’ jobs. Union leaders have cast doubt on the city’s budget estimates and called the mayor’s deadline artificial.