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San Jose leaders to vote on raise for city workers

The San Jose City Council on Tuesday is expected to vote on a contract giving more than 4,000 city employees a 14.5% raise over the next three years, but there are concerns about what will have to be cut to find that raise.

If the city council goes forward with the plan to give thousands of workers a raise, Mayor Matt Mahan says the city may need to cut some vacant crossing guard positions and make other moves to pay for it.

“There are other service cuts that I think are really unfortunate and unnecessary – cutting crossing guard roles, cutting staffing in IT, and in traffic signal, synchronization and other traffic safety work, cutting Viva Calle,” he said.

Viva Calle is a local community event that includes a street shutdown.

Mahan said while he agrees the city workers, including airport and library employees, deserve a raise, he worries that raising wages by 14.5% over three years comes at too high a cost for residents.

“I refuse to sign up for and endorse raises that are unsustainable, that put us in a position of potentially having to lay folks off and require reductions in the years ahead,” he said.

Union representative Deborah Grabelle disagrees.

“It shouldn’t be an either or,” she said. “There’s a solution here in terms of no service cuts and having wages that are sustainable so that people can live in the community that they work in and serve.”

She said research done by Working Partnerships USA shows if the city, which has hundreds of job openings, accurately reflects those vacancies and the time it takes to fill them, it would see San Jose has more money than accounted for.

She also believes there are other places where the mayor can save the city money.

“Those involve cutting staff that are doing things like Twitter and content provider for the mayor,” she said. “That’s a $135,000 job that he has posted right now on the webpage. That’s unnecessary when you’re talking about our libraries, our rec centers, basic functions of the city.”

Source: NBC Bay Area

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