Santa Clara City Council voted 6-1 on Tuesday to lay off about 80 workers if their representatives don’t agree to a 5 percent pay cut or 12 days of unpaid furlough. The decision was made to overcome a looming deficit of $5 million this year and $13 million next year. Though three out of the ten unions bargaining with the city have already agreed to the cuts and two are still in the process of negotiations, the remaining five have yet to decide even what their negotiating position will be. By voting on the cuts, Santa Clara City Council hopes to cajole them into expediting their decision. If they do not, the layoffs will begin on January 8.

Deputy City Manager Carol McCarthy explained City Council’s decision bluntly: “It’s a serious situation for the city. We’ve never faced such a fiscal crisis. Our reserves have never been at suck rock-bottom levels. There really is no place to go, but to the employees.”

One of the unions that agreed to the cuts represents department managers who work for the city. The unions that are still deliberating represent lower paid workers such as typists, office specialists, librarians, and dispatchers. Voula Brown, who heads the Santa Clara Employees Association, says that “They are worried about their jobs,” but adds, “They’re worried about their co-workers’ jobs, and people are worried about serving customers.” All of those could suffer if the layoffs go through.
Read More at ABC 7.