De Blasio and NYC sanitation workers union find more savings to avoid layoffs

Michael Gartland, New York Daily News
·2 min read

The city sanitation union has agreed to defer $27 million in pay and benefits over the next year to avoid looming layoffs caused by COVID-19 and its fiscal fallout.

Mayor de Blasio announced the agreement with the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association on Monday afternoon, noting the city has now secured a total of $722 million in labor savings that will go toward filling $5 billion in budget shortfalls projected through 2022.

For months, de Blasio had been pleading for President Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate to release more stimulus to the city as its financial outlook continued to worsen. He’s also lobbied Albany for increased borrowing power to address the shortfalls. As third option, Hizzoner focused on making deals with labor unions to find savings in the hopes of postponing layoffs.

So far, the mayor has only found success with option three, but with President-elect Biden poised to go back to the Oval Office in January, de Blasio expects a new federal stimulus package to further plug the financial holes created by the pandemic.

“As chances for a robust federal stimulus rise with the incoming Biden administration, New York City has still gotten to work making tough choices to balance the budget,” he said in a written statement Monday.

The deal with the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, Teamsters Local 831, means retroactive payments that were due to members last month will be pushed back until 2022. Four months of retiree welfare fund contributions and an annuity fund payment will be postponed until next year as well.

In exchange, de Blasio promised that the city would hold back on laying off workers until at least July 2021. If the city were to get $5 billion in state and federal aid, that pledge would be extended for a year.

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