What Happened Yesterday at City Council and What Happens Next…
Thank you all very much for your presence and incredibly compelling testimony in front of the City Council yesterday. Unfortunately, as we discussed in our meeting at MEA on Tuesday morning, we were essentially fighting a “done deal” and were not able to affect any change in the Mayor’s proposed budget in PD. However, the City Attorney and Council also made it clear yesterday that the approval is not final until and unless the City completes a good faith “meet and confer” negotiation with MEA on the proposed cuts.
What that means is that, despite the vote yesterday, these positions have not yet been cut and the City cannot layoff any employees until we are finished with the meet and confer process, which will likely take a few months. In addition, it appears that the City may have some concern about the lack of its “good faith” performance under state labor law, which might translate into some leverage in the meet and confer negotiations to restore some of these positions. Add to that the fact that cutting these positions defies common sense, and there is some hope that some portion of these positions may be restored in the course of these negotiations.
The bottom line is that we will continue to work as hard (and strategically) as possible to make something happen in the meet and confer process. The other bottom line is that Monday’s Council hearing is no longer a priority to attend. The Council will simply repeat the vote they took yesterday. Attending the hearing and speaking to the Council will not change that. With that said, if you feel compelled to speak, you are certainly welcome to do so.
It is unlikely that serious meet and confer negotiations will take place before the holidays, but if that changes we will inform you immediately. Otherwise, you can expect for MEA to host another meeting with all of you after the first of the year to discuss where we are at that time, what the meet and confer schedule is, and how you can participate in and support that process.
Again, thank you for all of your efforts and please stay strong. This is a painfully unjust outcome—so far—and we will continue to work tirelessly for a different outcome in the coming weeks and months. As always, do not hesitate to contact Mike Zucchet, Nancy Roberts or Gwen Phillips at MEA if you have any questions or need more information on any issue.