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Seattle City Unions Could Agree To Lower Salaries Through 2013

Amy Radil

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced Friday he's reached a tentative agreement with most city unions that will help lower the city's budget deficit.


The unions have agreed to re–open their contracts to accept only a cost–of–living adjustment of .6 percent, instead of their scheduled 2 percent raises for the next three years. In exchange, union workers would see their health plans unchanged and no more across–the–board furloughs will be imposed.

The agreement with the unions, plus other salary freezes, would save the city about $4 million next year. That's not as much as the city saved through furloughs this year. But city officials say it's a better long–term strategy because it keeps city facilities open and lowers salaries overall.

McGinn says the $4 million savings represents at least some progress in solving the city's $67 million dollar deficit in its general fund.

McGinn: "The last cuts are the hardest ones and probably the ones that hit hardest to home for our city residents. And this change means that we can avoid $4 million of those very difficult reductions."

McGinn will present his proposed budget to the city council in two weeks. Seattle police and firefighters are not included in the tentative agreement, although firefighters had a pay freeze this year. The union representing Seattle City Light's line workers declined to re–open its contract.

I'm Amy Radil, KUOW News.

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