LA city workers protest furloughs

Los Angeles city workers Tuesday protested planned furloughs to address the city’s budget gap. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze has more.

Frank Stoltze: City employees like Judy Reel of the city attorney’s association lay blame for the furloughs on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Judy Reel: The mayor presents a budget to you that is crude, that is thoughtless, and that is thuggish.

Stoltze: That budget, approved by the council, includes 26 mandatory unpaid days off. The mayor’s argued that’ll help address a $529 million budget shortfall. Librarian Linda Israelson says it won’t just hurt public employees.

Linda Israelson: It’s going to cause a great deal of financial hardship to every city worker who it affects. And it will also be pulling services away from the taxpayers of this city.

Stoltze: Labor unions want early retirements for older workers instead of furloughs. City officials reportedly prefer a one-time buyout. They’ve threatened more layoffs if the unions don’t go along. The council’s already voted to terminate up to 1,200 workers as it grapples with plummeting tax revenues.

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