The Swarm

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September 8, 2010
Deal finally done between city and Local 39

After all the hullabaloo and teeth-gnashing, the deal between City Hall and the city's largest employee union is finally done.

Without fanfare, the Sacramento City Council approved the pact with Local 39 as part of its consent agenda Tuesday evening.

As The Bee's editorial board has said, it's not an ideal agreement. But it will save the city about $3.8 million in both 2010-11 and 2011-12, helping the council balance the budget with fewer cuts to services.

Under the contract, which goes through June 29, 2012, the 1,600 members of Local 39 will take one unpaid furlough day a month and step salary increases will be frozen for two years.

The city, in turn, promises no layoffs until at least next June; 90 jobs that would have been cut this month were saved. There's one potential out: a fiscal emergency in the utilities department, including the passage of a ballot measure in November that would roll back utility rate increases.

Because the negotiations with Local 39 took so long, the council had to use another $1.2 million in proceeds from the sale of the Sheraton Hotel to avoid layoffs during the talks.

There's one more to go. The council received an update in closed session Tuesday about the negotiations with Local 447 of the Plumbers & Pipefitters, and officials say an agreement is near.

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The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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