On Thursday workers in Miami-Dade County technically got back a 5 percent pay cut they conceded years ago – but Mayor Carlos Gimenez promised to veto county commissioners' 8-5 decision.
“We’ve got to come to some kind of middle ground and I’m willing to do that, but this is not a middle ground, this is basically all or nothing, and we can't go all or nothing,” Gimenez said.
County worker Robert Akras called recent pay cuts unreasonable.
“It’s been negatively effective. We have, it’s more than 5 percent, it’s 16 percent, and we’re just asking to get the 5 percent restored to our pay,” he said.
On Thursday county commissioners held an impasse hearing, because the unions and management can't come to terms on new multiyear contracts.
Police officers, transportation workers and general employees all agreed to contribute 5 percent to their health plans several years ago when the economy was in bad shape.
The issue involves about 25,000 employees. Restoring the 5 percent would cost some $56 million, and lead to about 100 layoffs.
Commissioners voted 8-5 in favor of giving employees back their 5 percent, but not Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa.
“The reality is if you create an unstable situation in your budget, then even their positions are at risk,” she said.
Gimenez is expected to reverse Thursday’s decision at the next meeting. That would be a bad move, said John Rivera, the Dade County Police Benevolent Association’s president.
“I would hope that the mayor would not continue to put the community, the commission through this again, and just let it go and let the employees do what they do best – try to deliver excellence every day,” Rivera said.
The same situation happened last month, with a majority of commissioners approving the increase in employees’ pay, and the mayor vetoing their decision.