Business & Economy

Los Angeles labor union leaders try to sell deal to members

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speaks at the launch of the unaffiliated political organization known as No Labels December 13, 2010 at Columbia University in New York City.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speaks at the launch of the unaffiliated political organization known as No Labels December 13, 2010 at Columbia University in New York City.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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Los Angeles city labor leaders will try this week to sell their members on the idea of contributing more to their pension plans.

Organized labor leaders expect resistance, said Alice Goff of the Coalition of L.A. City Labor Unions. “It won’t be easy. We are again going to ask our members to sacrifice.”

Union leaders who represent more than half of L.A. city workers tentatively agreed for members to increase pension contributions from 6 to 11 percent – and, for the first time, to contribute to their retiree health care plans.

Bob Schoonover of the Service Employees International Union said negotiators secured a good deal for workers. “There was a lot of number crunching. There was a lot of sleepless nights by people.”

David Bunjac of the laborers union said it’s in workers’ best interest to make sacrifices. “We understand and we recognize the importance of balancing the city budget and keeping benefits sustainable for our families.”

L.A. faces a $350 million deficit, and the mayor threatened more unpaid furloughs and layoffs if workers rejected pension reform. He hopes to squeeze similar concessions from the police, fire and DWP unions.