City's Union Talks Break Down; Big Cuts to Fire, Parks

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

That means some 200 city workers – including at least 50 fire fighters – will lose their jobs at the end of next week.  And the fire and parks departments will now have to absorb significant service cuts.
The city’s after school and youth sports programs will be eliminated.  Parks will go longer without trash pickup and other maintenance.  And an already short-staffed fire department will have 50 fewer fire fighters to cover the city.  All that because talks broke down between Sacramento officials and two big labor groups: the fire fighters union, Local 522, and Stationary Engineers Local 39.
Vina: “The fire department has already said that we can expect about a minute and a half increased response time.” 
Assistant City Manager Gus Vina.
Vina: “When you start to look at other departments such as parks and rec, you’re gonna see deterioration of the parks, cuts in programs and that’s just unfortunately where we are at.” 
Fire fighters rejected one tentative agreement earlier this month, while the city council abruptly pulled a second deal back last week.  A final meeting yesterday afternoon failed.  As for Local 39, the two sides haven’t met for nearly two weeks – and no talks are even on the schedule.