York city union avoids furloughs with pay freeze

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Dozens of workers fearing they’d be furloughed or laid off don’t have to worry about that anymore tonight. York’s mayor announced an agreement within the public works department. The agreement impacts about 50 people who work for the city, and it’s estimated to save the city about $155,000. It comes after York faced a nearly $7M budget deficit going into 2015. Mayor Kim Bracey said these workers made a sacrifice in order to help the city.

“These employees, many of whom are city residents, city taxpayers, gave up a modest raise in order to remain on the job for the city of York,” said Bracey.

“At the end of the day the teamsters won, the taxpayers won, and the citizens of York won,” said teamsters agent, Martin Parson.

The city signed a one year agreement with the union. The workers will forgo a potential raise of 50 cents an hour in order to avoid a 10 day furlough. But along with the pay freeze, the union also got its overtime pay and accrued time off restored.

“We have a lot of people time to time who are living week to week so it was a big thing,” said technician, Keith Arnold.

Arnold has been a technician in the city for almost 40 years. He said he’d forgo another raise in 2016 if it helped the city.

“I possibly, probably wouldn’t have a problem giving up for another year, but there’s a lot of people that need the money,” said Arnold.

Mayor Bracey said this will save the city money, but a much larger issue still faces the city. She says the city can’t make its way out of the fiscal crisis alone without pension reform.

“No amount of cutting will make our city more successful. We continue to buy time until our state government grows the courage to act decisively on the inevitable future fiscal crisis,” said Bracey.

Bracey has been calling on county and state officials to help make a change for York for the past year. She says if that doesn’t happen there will be more challenging budgets in the city’s future.

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