The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

L.A. Threatens Layoffs ... Again

Mar 1, 2010

From late January to mid-February, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Miguel Santana, the city's administrative officer, threatened job cuts: first 1,000, then raising the number to 1,500, then to 3,000 layoffs, and finally declaring 4,000 jobs needed to be cut by July 1.

Does all this sound like upping the ante in a poker game? Sure enough, city officials have been demanding concessions from union workers – a five% pay cut and higher contributions to the retirement fund. Santana threatened, “Any delays [in cuts] will only result in bigger cuts later.” And if they don’t get the concessions, they threatened layoffs, furloughs, hiring freezes, outsourcing and privatizations.

Only a few months ago L.A. city workers gave concessions, including pay cuts that amounted to 78 million dollars in 2009 and another 110 million in the 2010-11 fiscal year. But this didn’t stop the city from forcing 2400 workers to take early retirement, cutting those jobs.

If workers accept these extortionist demands again, city officials will only come back for more – and make job cuts as well.

The only answer extortionists can understand is one big NO.