When Mayor Sam Adams
unveiled the initial details of his 2010-11 budget proposal this winter, he said the City of Portland would ask its employees to make wage concessions
in the form of zero cost-of-living increases. Now for the first time in recent history, several labor unions, including the one that represents the politically influential Portland firefighters, have agreed to that salary freeze this budget year.
The City of Portland has reached tentative or final agreements with four of the seven labor unions
whose contracts expired in 2010 -- the Bureau of Emergency Communications union, the City of Portland Professional Employees Association, the Firefighters' Association and the Laborers' Local 483 Recreation Employees. All of them have accepted zero cost-of-living increases for 2010-11.
That may not seem remarkable, given Adams' pledge. However, Portland's consumer price index increase is close to 1 percent in the current market. Yvonne Deckard, the city's human resources director, said today that she can't recall any time in her long tenure with the city when labor groups have given up wage increases pegged to the consumer price index. "It's huge," she says.
If the remaining three groups also forgo the raises, the city will save about $10 million a year,
according to The Oregonian.