The City of Sacramento has cut off talks with the firefighters union, leaving Local 39 as essentially the last major union at the negotiating table. Yet there doesn’t seem to be much hope for compromise.
In speaking to the Bee’s Ryan Lillis, Mayor Kevin Johnson said union leaders from Local 39 had “not been willing to actively engage with city negotiators”. Mayor Johnson was not optimistic labor concessions would be reached, saying:
“I don’t feel that sends the right message to city employees, when you have city staff trying to talk to the leadership in their union and for one reason or another they’re not willing to sit down.”
Similar sentiments were felt by Councilmembers when discussing the budget on June 14, 2009. In regards to the unions, Councilmember Sandy Sheedy said:
“We need the unions to step up. Not for themselves, but for the families, for the kids they protect. We need them to step up and we need them to step up now.”
Yet there is rumor that Local 39 did attempt to negotiate concessions. According to comments in the Bee, the City laid out their terms with Local 39 before walking out just days before the June 14th Council Meeting.
It would be unfair to blame Johnson, Sheedy, or any of the Councilmembers if they did not know about this; they are all going to meeting after meeting after meeting, so they can only go by what information is provided to them by the city staff handeling the negotiations.
The question is whether such information is true.