A plan proposed by a Cincinnati City Council majority to avoid job layoffs in exchange for concessions has been approved by two out of three labor unions.
The two unions — the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and Cincinnati Organized and Dedicated Employees (CODE) — have accepted the deal. Members of a third union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), are still voting and expect a decision later today.
The FOP, which represents police officers and most supervisors, accepted the deal in a 565-433 vote. As a result, the union will have 4.6 unpaid furlough days for its members this year.
CODE, which represents mid-level managers, also accepted the deal, although its final tally wasn’t released. It accepted 2.5 furlough days.
City officials said furlough days were needed to help avoid a $28 million deficit this year, due to a drop in tax revenues because of the bad economy. Unless the unions agreed, layoffs would occur, officials added; 138 people were on the chopping block in the Police Department.
The FOP and CODE had engaged in a high-profile showdown
with the mayor, city manager and a council majority over the deal, alleging the city didn’t have a budget deficit as officials had said. The two unions rejected an initial offer to take six unpaid days in order to avoid layoffs, and instead filed a lawsuit asking a judge to block layoffs.
After a judge ruled city officials could layoff anyone it deemed necessary, negotiations began in earnest.
During the dispute, a council minority — consisting of Democrat Jeff Berding, Republicans Leslie Ghiz and Chris Monzel, and Charterite Chris Bortz — wanted City Council to pledge no police would be laid off.
Led by Mayor Mark Mallory, a council majority — consisting of Democrats Laketa Cole, David Crowley, Greg Harris and Cecil Thomas, along with Charterite Roxanne Qualls — said the pledge was inappropriate unless the FOP agreed to other cuts.
City Hall still faces an estimated $40 million deficit next year, meaning more cuts are likely.
Mallory and City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. declined comment until AFSCME completes its voting.
“Therefore, until that vote is concluded, the administration will refrain from comment in order for that to proceed uninfluenced,” said city spokeswoman Meg Olberding, in a press release.