Elsewhere: Angst Over Imminent Layoffs Rippling Through Rec and Park Department SF Weekly, Newsom explores cutting city workers’ hours ABC7

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom planned to meet Tuesday afternoon with leaders of local unions about a proposal he has made to lay off thousands of city workers and rehire most of them for jobs with a reduced workweek to address the city’s budget shortfall.

As many as 12,000 city workers would be affected by the plan, which would reduce the workweek from 40 hours to 37.5 in an attempt to save about $50 million. The city faces a budget shortfall of about $520 million for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

The mayor is trying to govern by press conference…We were sucker punched, we didn’t know about this.The mayor planned to meet with officials from Service Employee International Union Local 1021 and other local unions at about 4 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the proposal.

Newsom said that the proposal “can save tens of millions of dollars and save, arguably, thousands of jobs.”

Damita Davis-Howard, president of SEIU Local 1021, said her union members were upset about the proposal and that it was released to the press before it was discussed with the unions.

“The mayor is trying to govern by press conference,” Davis-Howard said. “We were sucker punched, we didn’t know about this.”

She said the union would discuss possible alternatives with Newsom at today’s meeting.

“We understand there’s a budget deficit, but we have to figure out how to stimulate San Francisco to keep it the vital city we all know and love,” Davis-Howard said.

Newsom said he is willing to listen if union leaders have a better idea to address the budget deficit. He said the idea had been discussed at City Hall for more than a year.

“I think a much worse idea is thousands of layoffs,” he said. “We can’t continue to do business as usual. It’s a wakeup call for everybody.”

Davis-Howard said Newsom’s proposal, which would reduce salaries for those workers by 6.25 percent, “is not the right track, it’s the next step in a downward spiral for the city and its citizens.”

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