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Tue, Apr

Mayor Bass “Locks Arms” with Campaign Funding Union Bo$$e$

LA WATCHDOG

LA WATCHDOG - Mayor Karen Bass, along with City Council President Paul Krekorian and Budget and Finance Committee Chair Bob Blumenfield, are once again planning to give away the store, this time to the union bosses representing the City’s civilian employees. And, once again, it will be with the full knowledge that these new labor agreements will produce budget deficits for this year and the following four years.

On this Monday morning, the Executive Employee Relations Committee (Bass, Krekorian, Blumenfield, McOsker, and Harris-Dawson) met behind closed doors (no smoking allowed) to discuss bargaining instructions for the City’s negotiations with the City’s civilian unions whose contracts expire at the end of the month. While the less than transparent City provided no useful information, the Coalition of Los Angeles City Unions said they were trying to “negotiate a new contract that has strong, competitive wages, addresses the understaffing crisis, expands healthcare, protects our secure retirement, and wins us an even stronger union voice on the job.”

According to City Hall insiders, the new labor agreements with the civilian unions will add another $50 million to this year’s shortfall. Coupled with the impact of the $127 million hit associated with the new contract with the Police Protective League, this year’s so called “balanced budget” will morph into a $173 million deficit.

And this does not include the impact of this year’s over-expenditures and lower revenues than planned. See LA Underwater with $390M Budget Shortfall Amid Labor Agreement Fallout.

Next year (2024-25) is even worse as the impact of the new police and civilian labor agreements will balloon to a deficit of an estimated $440 million, more than the $68 million of red ink anticipated in the CAO’s Four Year Budget Outlook.

These increases in employee compensation compound year after year. The CAO’s Budget Outlook anticipated a cumulative surplus over the next four years of $1.1 billion. Adjusted for these new budget busting labor agreements, the cumulative surplus turns into a $1.9 billion river of red ink, a swing of $3 billion, an amount that would provide 6,000 units of permanent supportive housing for the homeless. 

 

Yes, it is hard to believe, but Mayor Bass, Council President Krekorian, and Budget Chair Blumenfield knew that these labor agreements would ravage the budget, but their first obligation is to the campaign funding bosses of the City’s public sector unions.

(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate.  He can be reached at:  [email protected].)

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