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Phoenix City Council, Some Unions At Impasse

The Phoenix City Council is facing a situation it hasn’t seen in almost 30 years. It hasn’t reached contract agreements with all of its employee unions. Council members could be facing some tough decisions at their meeting later this week.

So far the city manager Ed Zuercher has reached agreements with three of the city’s five employee unions. Firefighters and two other employee groups have come to terms and agreed to a 1.6 percent cut in pay and benefits.

The police officers’ union and another group representing skilled workers such as electricians and mechanics have said no deal.

The council has historically agreed to the same terms for all employee unions. If the city manager and the remaining unions don’t reach an agreement the city council could impose new contracts at their meeting on Wednesday.

All this comes as the city leaders  are trying to plug a nearly $38 million hole in next year’s budget, that  begins July 1. Zuercher is recommending an increase in various fees and taxes that would raise $11.5 million. The employees pay and benefit cuts would raise another $16.5 million.

Al Macias, former KJZZ news director, is part of an elite class of trusted, veteran journalists who have covered Arizona news for more than 30 years.