“They’ve been having a Mardi Gras (in City Hall) over the past three years.” — DWP union boss Brian D’Arcy on why IBEW members deserve a 3.25 % cash payment and raises up to 4 p% for the next few years while other city workers are losing money or getting nothing.
“Unlike us, they have the ability to strike. No. 2, when
they go to management, management has the option of increasing the
utility bills.” – Police union leader Paul Weber on why cops get no raises and lose overtime pay while IBEW workers get a lucrative new deal after getting 5.9 % raises the last two years.
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Your elected leaders from the mayor on down stood up and saluted the city’s workers Friday as they approved a series of deals that fall $100 million short of balancing the budget four months into the fiscal year and leaves a $400 million deficit next year.
In the name of “shared sacrifice,” the civilian workforce gave up raises in this year of 1.7 % deflation and agreed to temporary cuts that total a 4.4 percent lost of income.
The cops also gave up raises this year as well as agreeing to take time off instead of getting paid for overtime, a step that will cost thousands of officers a big chunk of their income.
The engineers union is being hit with the loss of a day’s pay every two weeks through furloughs and the firefighters are at an impasses in their negotiations.
It’s a different story at the Department of Water and Power.
D’Arcy hardly even had to raise the specter of a strike or threaten to retaliate against his bosses at every level to give him what he wants. He is no better than a hoodlum on the street putting a gun in your face and robbing you blind.
Not so, says the mayor. The lucrative agreement for D’Arcy “provides the shared sacrifice that the mayor has asked for,” says his spokesman Matt Szabo.
Vital city services are being slashed and your utility bills will soon reflect what it costs to pay blackmail to D’Arcy and the DWP.
Rate hikes of 10 percent a year for the next five years already are planned but even that won’t generate enough money.
Understand, DWP workers are guaranteed 10 % of their wages in total overtime. The DWP is overstaffed with hundreds of low productivity workers like one manager who gets paid several hours of overtime every day to check that a few doors are locked at night. Thousands of non-technical workers are paid up to a 40 % premium over the prevailing wages for their jobs.
Contracting practices are sloppy at best, corrupt at worst, resulting either way in the waste of tens of millions of dollars.
All this in an agency that has allowed the water and power infrastructure to deterioriate from a lack of investment and maintenance, has fought for more than a decade against every effort to develop green energy sources while maintaining the largest portfolio of dirty coal-burning power plants in the country.
It is City Hall’s cash cow, providing a 10 % utility tax and 8 % of power revenue (up from 5 % when the mayor took office) to feed the general fund. And now is absorbing millions of dollars of non-utility city expenses and adding hundreds of other city workers to its payroll to further ease the financial crisis facing LA.
There I’ve put it all together for you. It’s in your face.
So what are you going to do about it?
Pay the blackmail and grumble? Write, phone or email your Council member (Councilcontacts.rtf)? Storm down to CIty Hall and protest? Refuse to pay your DWP bill?
Your eyes are wide open — or wide shut if you choose to ignore the
truth — this time. There’s no ambiguity. You are being stuck with the
bill for their failure and corruption.
D’Arcy’s right about one thing: City Hall has been having a Mardi Gras feeding frenzy
since Antonio Villaraigosa became mayor.
is the issue for the whole community to come together and fight about.
We need an independent blue-ribbon citizens’ commission to go through
the books of the DWP, to look at every one of the complicated rate
structures and see who’s being hit the hardest, to examine every job to
see if it’s justified.
For my money, we have to block them from
imposing any more rate increases until there is a full accounting of
every penny of the $4 billion a year the DWP takes in.
don’t make a stand over this, we will never win our fights against
projects that destroy the quality of life in our neighborhoods, the
proliferation of billboards and pot shops or any of the other issues
that upset so many people.
It’s now or never.