Bloomberg’s Savings

It’s not easy to find money for initiatives like job-generating construction projects when you’re hoping to not raise taxes or go further into debt. But yesterday, Michael Bloomberg announced he had done just that, thanks mainly to a series of work concessions by construction unions.

The science of calculating how much money is saved from work rules changes is far from perfect. Things get less scientific still if I am the one doing the calculating.

But the changes here seem, to me at least, relatively minor, compared to the amount of money they’re expected to save.

Here’s where the city says most of the savings are coming from:

-bumping up the work week from 35 to 40 hours

-coordinating lunch breaks to maximize work productivity

-capping overtime at time-and-a-half (it was, for some workers, double-time pay)

-giving some workers two hours of pay if they show up for work but are unable to due to unforeseen circumstances (some were paid a full day’s salary)

-agreeing not to strike or slow down work “due to disputes outside the city’s control.”

The city says it expects a savings, from these measures, of $300 million.

UPDATE: One thing worth adding to this list of cost-cutting measures: the unions agreed to allow the city to skirt the state’s WICS law, which will cut down on the number of contracts the city has to give out on each project. An interested reader said about half the estimated savings comes from this one move.

  Bloomberg’s Savings