By KEVIN McCALLUM
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The city of Santa Rosa’s largest union on Thursday overwhelmingly agreed to accept furloughs that will reduce their pay by 4.6 percent.
By a vote of 257 to 22, or 93 percent in favor, the members of the Santa Rosa City Employees Association approved the one-year contract, said union president Tony Alvernaz.
“They are not happy because it will have some tremendous financial impacts, but they understand,” Alvernaz said.
The workers know the city is in a financial crisis and needs concessions from its workers to balance the budget, he said. Over the past several years, 88 positions represented by the union have been eliminated. “I think a lot of people are just grateful to have a job,” he said.
The agreement would reduce the general fund deficit by about $700,000 this year — 28 percent of the $2.5 million the city hopes to save through employee concessions.
The furloughs amount to one day a month, but workers will have some flexibility about when they can take the unpaid time off, Alvernaz said.
Each two-week pay period, hours will be taken out of their paychecks and put in a bank. When they decide to take furlough days, employees draw down the bank much like vacation time, Alvernaz said.