6,300 workers in the city of Los Angeles voted against a proposed labor agreement, leaving them uncovered by the terms of the new contract. On Wednesday, Mayor Villaraigosa responded by ordering his departmental managers to impose eight and a half weeks of unpaid time off.

The furloughs are part of the new plan that City Hall will have to roll out to continue combating a budget shortfall of $457 million.

Critics are calling the action a punishment and a threat to public safety.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Wednesday ordered his managers to impose 42 furlough days on city employees in four union groups after those workers rejected his proposal for cutting the budget shortfall.

Employee groups representing more than 6,300 full-time workers voted against the labor agreement that the mayor negotiated last month with leaders of the Coalition of L.A. City Unions. Balloting finished Tuesday.

The deal with the coalition was supposed to save $69 million in the coming fiscal year. Villaraigosa had promised employees who made a series of concessions – including a 4% reduction in pay and the postponement of three previously negotiated raises – that they would be rewarded with an end to furloughs that the city has used to avoid employee layoffs.

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