MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Commissioners have voted 7-6 to propose a new deal with law enforcement that will avoid any layoffs, but still require workers to contribute four percent from their base pay toward health care.
The vote took place just before 5 p.m. Tuesday after the commission earlier declined to vote on a veto override for proposed layoffs by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
Gimenez originally wanted law enforcement officers and other county employees to contribute an additional 5-percent of their base pay toward healthcare, bringing the total contribution to 10-percent.
On January 5th, the Commission voted against the additional 5-percent pay contribution. However, Mayor Gimenez swiftly followed through on his promise to veto the Commission decision and proceeded to send out pink slips to 118 police officers, 17 corrections employees and, so far, 68 professionals and supervisors. The layoffs would have been effective Feb. 3.
But, by reconsidering their January 5th vote and starting from scratch Tuesday, the commission essentially rendered the mayoral vetoes moot. Roughly 350 people packed the commission chambers Tuesday urging commissioners and the mayor to save their jobs and not cut benefits.
Miami-Dade Police Union officials said after the vote they will speak to attorneys beginning Wednesday and are seeking to take the potential changes to court.
The proposed plan put forth by commissioners Tuesday will expire on September 30, 2012. It will need another vote on the issue then.
Mayor Gimenez did say that the new proposal will allow him to rescind all of the layoff notices.
“Obviously it’s better than the 5-percent which is unreasonable but we still need to go down to zero, said PBA President John Rivera. “We’ve given them so much more than anybody else. We’re set in our ways, ya know we have an American system, we live in America, not in Cuba, we don’t deal with dictators, let the courts deal with it.”
The 2011-12 budget that commissioners approved last year factored in $239 million in union concessions. Most unions accepted a slew of cutbacks but hit an impasse over the 5-percent giveback.
Earlier this month, commissioners rejected the giveback for the Police Benevolent Association and the Government Supervisors Association of Florida OPEIU Local 100. Were they to do the same for the remaining four unions at impasse, the county would face a $65 million budget hole.
Four other unions have also hit an impasse on the extra 5-percent contribution. Those impasses will also come before the commission Tuesday.
Two of the unions, the AFSCME Local 199 representing general county employees, and the Transport Workers Union Local 291, ratified their contracts last week, in time to bring the impasses before the commission Tuesday along with solid waste and water and sewer workers.
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