Antonio to maybe-strikers: 'Make my day'

Well not exactly, but in so many words Mayor Villaraigosa this afternoon called the bluff of the Engineer and Architects Association. He said that City Hall is ready if the white collar workers strike as threatened next week, and he asked the City Attorney to seek a temporary restraining order against any job action that affects the airports, 911 service or the Bureau of Sanitation. He also contended the EAA is asking for the moon. Bit of a touchy spot for the former union activist who won with the help of labor, but most of the City Hall unions are friendly with the mayor and he had this to say: "I will always respect workers' rights to unionize and advocate collectively. But we can not tolerate any effort to compromise the delivery of essential city services or the safety of the people of Los Angeles." Excerpt of the mayor's remarks follows:

After more than two years of negotiations with the Engineers and Architects Association, the City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to unilaterally impose a contract that provides fair and reasonable wage, salary and benefit increases to our 7400 EAA-represented employees.

The City negotiated in good faith and put an exceedingly fair deal on the table.

In fact, all of the City's other civilian employees * some 17,000 in total * agreed to the same raise that the City Council unanimously approved for the EAA....Instead of reaching settlement, EAA declared an impasse early in the process, and submitted some 51 issues to an independent fact-finder.

The fact-finder's report, issued in May of this year, supported all of the City's major recommendations.

On June 15, EAA requested the City to transmit its last, best, and final offer. That offer was rejected, and the leaders of the union have called on its members to strike on August 22 and August 23.

EAA-represented employees provide important services to the people of Los Angeles. They work hard. They deserve a FAIR wage and benefits package. They got one.

I should point out that EAA-represented employees are highly-paid compared to most other City employees. The EAA represents the City's accountants and auditors, hardware and software systems experts, administrative professionals, engineers and architects, surveyors and drafting technicians. The average EAA employee will be making about $74,500 under the new agreement. The highest-paid employees will make more than $125,000 under the new deal.

I have a fiduciary responsibility to protect all of the taxpayer-financed services of this city. And I take that responsibility very seriously. I will not break the city's budget or deprive L.A.'s residents of essential services like police, fire protection and road repair in order to meet unreasonable demands.

EAA has its side of the story online.

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