Dozens of city employees get furlough notices

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The Mayor says the city’s fiscal house is in order but dozens of city employees recently got notice that they’d be furloughed.

At the height of the recession, city security officers agreed to take two unpaid days off a year to help with the city’s budget crunch.

Now, the recession is over and that contract has expired, but the city is still ordering those employees to take furloughs and to do it within the next six weeks.

“It’s impacting their lives; it’s impacting their every day, their families,” said Rocky Gutierrez, representative for AFSCME #18. “They cannot take additional furloughs. They’re already paid low wages.”

The city and the union have been at an impasse over a new contract, so the city says it’s just sticking to the old deal.

“It expired June 30, 2012, but we’ve been honoring the terms and conditions of the contract up to this point in time,” said Vincent Yermal, Human Resources Director for the City of Albuquerque.

That includes two days off without pay.

The union says the city is selectively enforcing those recession-era rules, noting that transit security workers and animal control officers haven’t been furloughed each year even though they’re under the same expired contract.

“They should have been,” Yermal said. “That would be something I would need to take up with their departments.”

The union also said this is bad timing for the public.

They say at a time APD is low on patrol officers the city has even more need for security workers.

Because of the impasse, the union wants to go to arbitration.

The city says they’re considering it.

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