Deal: Union Chips in More for Health Care, Layoffs Halted for 90 Days

Michael Bloomberg and labor leaders announced a plan to halt scheduled layoffs of 1,000 municipal workers for at least 90 days, and have labor unions pay more money for some of their health-care costs, a move the mayor said could save the city $1 billion over six years.

Money to prevent the layoffs is coming from the union-administered Health Insurance Stabilization Fund, and “will be cost-neutral to the city,” Bloomberg said. Another 980 to 1,000 workers will still be laid off, according to labor officials at the event.

Harry Nespoli, chairman of the Municipal Labor Committee, said the labor leaders “all totally agreed to stop the layoffs. And we did it, coming out of the Stabilization Fund, which is what unionism is all about.”

Nespoli also said, “What does it do for three months? It makes people work for three months. That’s what it does. It makes them pay their bills for three months.”

When asked what, if anything, could happen that would save those employees from being laid off after the 90-day period, Bloomberg said the city’s economy could unexpectedly improve.

“The real answer is, no matter how small the probability, it’s at least non-zero. There’s some chance that maybe we’ll find another revenue source, maybe we won’t have a diminution in tax revenues that we’ve projected. Maybe we can find some other ways. But, as Harry said, for 90 days, those people continue to work,” Bloomberg said.