A reader wrote to Circling the News after reading the October 23 L.A. Times story, “L.A.’s Budget Crisis Worsens as Deficit Projections Climb to $600 Million.”
The reader said, “While the City is planning on layoffs and furloughs, which mean we may not get the services we need when we need them, they are also planning TWO raises in January and June for the Coalition of L. A. City Unions. I’d love to know which employees are included in those Unions, and why they are still getting raises?”
The story stated, “The city’s firefighter union received a 4.75% pay increase on July 5 and is poised to receive another 3% next summer. And the Coalition of L.A. City Unions, which represents a half-dozen non-sworn employee groups, is slated to receive a 2% raise in January and another 2% in June.”
What is the Coalition of L.A. City Unions? It is part of SEIU 721 (Service Employees International Union) and includes Local 901 (City Recreation and Park Officials), Local 2006 (steel workers), Local 2626 (librarians), Local 3090 (5,000 City Clerical and Support Services employees), Local 3672 (communication workers), Local 741 (painters, stage building and construction trade), the Service Employees International Union, Local 721 (95,000 workers in hospitals, foster care, courts, libraries, street services, beach maintenance, sanitation water treatment and parks services), Local 501 (International Union of Operating Engineers), Localal 777 (Laborers International Union of North America), the Los Angeles and Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council; and International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 911.
We emailed Councilman Mike Bonin’s office on November 29, asking why these unions will still get a raise when the City’s deficit is projected above $600 million.
This coalition of unions represents a wide range of job training and responsibilities, and it raises a question: Why do librarians and library janitors receive the same percentage raises?
We sent a second query to Bonin’s office on December 3 and the same query to Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office.
Bonin’s Deputy Chief of Staff David Graham-Caso responded on December 3, “The Coalition of City Unions represents a variety of different city employees, and they are subject to a series of Memorandums of Understanding regarding compensation. You can find out more here: http://cao.lacity.org/
“Regarding your questions about the pay scale increases that were approved prior to the pandemic and economic collapse – though details vary depending on each MOU, furloughs and other cost-saving measures will more than nullify any increases due to civilian employees in the foreseeable future. City departments will be presenting further budget plans at the next Budget and Finance committee meeting, where the year’s second Financial Status Report will be heard.”