Providence city leaders, worker union strike deal

Providence officials negotiated a deal with a city employee union that officials say will save the city more than $26 million over the next four years.

Mayor Angel Taveras and an official with the Local 1033 of the Laborers’ International Union signed  the agreement Wednesday morning at City Hall. The union represents about 900 city workers.

“We don’t anticipate any layoffs whatsoever,” Taveras said.

The agreement includes pay cuts, a three-year freeze on raises, reductions in longevity pay and increases in employee insurance contributions.

The city and the union negotiated for two months before announcing the deal.

“There have been good years, and there have been years of challenges. Most recently, we’ve been in a prolonged period of challenge,” said Donald Iannazzi, business manager for Local 1033.

Taveras’ spokesman said the agreement will save the city almost $7 million in the next 18 months. Providence faces a $110 million deficit in the upcoming fiscal year.

The mayor said the changes are not token concessions. He said they are real sacrifices by  union members, including pay cuts, a freeze on raises, wage reductions for new hires, and increases in medical insurance costs.

Taveras said the city would offer retirement incentives to reduce the workforce. They mayor also announced the formation of a committee to look at pension reform.

The contract still needs approval from the City Council.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Article source: http://www2.turnto10.com/news/2011/apr/06/providence-city-leaders-worker-union-strike-deal-ar-444171/

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