By: Marisa Lagos The San Francisco Chronicle May 14, 2009
Looks like San Francisco's budget gap just grew by another $38 million.
The city's largest union voted against a deal cut between SEIU 1021 bargainers and the mayor's office after weeks of meetings and late nights. City officials had high hopes the agreement -- which covers more than 11,000 city workers -- would pass, clearing the way for other unions to follow suit and change their existing contracts. But after several days of voting, which ended Wednesday evening, those chances were shot.
Union officials were still finalizing the vote tally this morning, but confirmed that the concessions were rejected.
"I think it was a relatively close vote," said Mark Gomez, a strategic analyst with the union. "We're going to meet with leadership to figure our next step."
All together, the city hopes to secure $90 million in concessions to plug a nearly half a billion dollar hole, which could grow further if a package of state ballot measures are rejected next week by voters -- a prospect that seems likely.
The changes rejected by SEIU 1021 rank-and-file -- some of whom complained quietly that the bargaining team and leadership weren't being communicative or representing them well -- include putting off layoffs scheduled for May 1 until August 7; keeping a 3.75 percent pay increase; eliminating holiday pay for 11 days in 2009 and 2010 (though workers will still receive time and a half if they work and will get to accrue nine floating holidays); and staving off any new layoffs until after Nov. 15. You can read the full proposal here.
UPDATE: Our colleague Heather Knight just called from Tracy, where Mayor Gavin Newsom held a press conference this morning. Newsom spoke extensively about the SEIU vote, expressing surprise and disappointment and warning that the vote could lead to deeper cuts, including more layoffs. He also said department heads will be huddling today at 4 p.m. for an emergency meeting
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