As you know, the mayor has released his budget for fiscal year 2014/15. While it doesn’t call for any reduction in staffing there also is no move to add regular staff to our critically depleted numbers. A very alarming trend is the amount of funding allocated to hiring “as needed” staff.  We could see the workforce go from one with decent pay and benefits to part-time, no health or retirement – thereby creating unstable staffing.  City revenues are up and forecasted to continue and the reserve fund is larger than it has ever been.

Despite this, it comes as no surprise that the City Administrative Officer, Miguel Santana, is recommending that services not be restored nor should any new service be added.  The budget also assumes savings to health care costs for the city by requiring employees to pay 10% of their health care premium.  For our members this impacts negatively on the take home pay.  It’s time to change the conversation.  Budget hearings for the departments begin on April 30.  Please review the calendar and take time to come and testify to our needs.  Click here for the full calendar.

The CAO’s tired themes of cuts only continue to hinder Los Angeles’ recovery. We look around at broken roads and sidewalks, alleyways clogged with refuse and a general deterioration of public space and realize it time for us to say “Enough!”

Why is LA Spending More on Bank Fees than Fixing Our Streets?

The “Fix LA Coalition” was formed to speak out for services and budget accountability from City Hall.  The coalition consists of community organizations, community activists, clergy and labor and a cornerstone of the work being done is a research report documenting how much money the City of Los Angeles spends on fees to Wall Street.  A staggering $204 million was paid for fees alone in 2013, not counting any principal or interest.  We contend that these fees can be re-negotiated and savings used to provide services and adequate staffing.  This is not the only revenue generating idea that will be presented.  Please visit the website at www.FixLA.org for the “No Small Fees” report, find out who are our partners and see the activities of the coalition.

Our work to impact the budget to get change for added services and staff will translate into what we are able to achieve at the bargaining table. We hope to be at the table shortly after the conclusion of the budget hearings. In the meantime, we continue to pore over the surveys to determine the most pressing issues and concerns.

Once again, I want to thank the hundreds of you who took the time to fill out and return the survey.  The information we glean from the surveys provides invaluable information that will help guide our negotiations. One consistent theme is short staffing.  Another is health and safety concerns either due to workplace hazards or lack of good ergonomic standards.

I close with a call to action – attend the budget hearings on the day your department is scheduled. Your personal story does make a difference in determining the outcome.

In Solidarity,
Alice Goff, President

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