States and cities look to freeze wages; threaten layoffs

(Reposted from Workers Independent News) State and city workers across the country are facing threats of layoffs if they don’t agree to have wages frozen.

In New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine threatened on Thursday to start laying off workers if unions representing the workers don’t agree to 12 unpaid furloughs and a wage freeze.

Corzine said he has begun the process for preparing the layoffs and insists it isn’t intended to be an intimidation move. New Jersey is required to give workers 45 days notice of lay offs.

Upwards of 7000 workers could be laid off if an agreement isn’t reached while the furloughs, which amount to a paycut, would impact 80,000 workers. Similar pressure is being levied in Boston where Mayor Thomas Menino said lack of a pay freeze could result in the loss of 700 jobs.

Menino said in a speech that he is seeking a one year pay freeze to help close a $131-million hole in the budget. He said even with the pay freeze he won’t be able to completely avoid making some layoffs.

The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 93 announced on Friday they would be willing to accept the freeze preserving the jobs of 50 members.