LOCKPORT – Employees in the City Clerk’s Office and the Highways and Parks Department, slated for layoff in the 2014 budget, would get their jobs back under terms of a resolution on Wednesday’s Common Council agenda.
The measure from Alderman Patrick W. Schrader, D-4th Ward, would restore the jobs of a senior account clerk and a laborer, reducing to 13 the number of job cuts in the budget. The original budget included 16 layoffs, but one firefighter job already has been saved because of a retirement.
Schrader said Mayor Michael W. Tucker scrounged up enough money within the budget to save the two jobs, and now all Schrader has to do is scrounge up four votes on the six-member Council.
“I think I do [have the votes], but I need to do some lobbying,” Schrader said.
Council President Anne E. McCaffrey, R-2nd Ward, said she opposes the measure because no concessions have been obtained from the unions that represent the two workers.
The laborer is a member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the city’s blue-collar union, while the account clerk belongs to the Civil Service Employees Association, the white-collar union.
Schrader said terms of the AFSCME contract protect the laborer from layoff. He said dropping the single full-time employee would require the city to drop all seasonal and part-time workers in the blue-collar field, putting a crimp in the city’s workforce during the street paving season.
Also, the city gave AFSCME a no-layoff pledge in exchange for the union’s agreement to let the city privatize garbage pickup in 2011.
Schrader said Scott Cercone, a former alderman who now drives a truck for the city, chased him down recently in a local restaurant to insist that the pledge was still good even though the contract has expired.
That’s because no new contract has been reached, and under state law, public employee contracts continue until they are replaced, regardless of how long that takes.
Schrader said Deputy Corporation Counsel David E. Blackley, the city’s labor lawyer, agreed with Cercone’s claim.
Schrader, chairman of the Water and Sewer Committee, said the laborer job is crucial if the city is to continue repairing leaky water and sewer lines. “I need the body,” Schrader said.
The clerk post can’t be spared because of a coming shuffle of hourly workers within City Hall, which Schrader said he’s not at liberty to discuss.