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Furlough plan approved for L.A. workers

June 4, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Many Los Angeles city workers and residents will soon have to deal with different schedules as the city confronts budget problems. In an effort to save $100 million, L.A. City Council Wednesday approved a plan for furloughs of some city workers and to close most city departments every other Friday.

However, there are a number of exceptions for critical services. Airport workers and the police department would not be affected.

The zoo, libraries, some city council offices, the fire department and garbage collections would also continue to operate.

City Council President Eric Garcetti told reporters "we have to balance the budget responsibly on July 1 with real money, not projected money." "We hope to lessen the number of layoffs and/or furloughs with ongoing discussions with unions, but we don't have an option."

City officials need to first meet with union representatives to figure out how to implement the new plan. Meetings are scheduled to begin July 1, which is the start of the new fiscal year.

In reacting to the city's plan, Barbara Maynard of the Coalition of L.A. City Unions said "unilateral implementation of furloughs violates the spirit of cooperation that we have built with the city leaders and is an illegal change in pay and hours." The Coalition represents 22,000 city employees.

With shutdowns on Friday, the city council might change its regularly scheduled meeting to Thursdays.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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