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Unions React to Goodman's Plan to Fire City Employees | News

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Unions React to Goodman's Plan to Fire City Employees
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LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman is sticking to his "all or nothing" ultimatum, claiming pay cuts for all city employees is the only way to save everyone's job right now.

But union leaders disagree and say they are tired of being painted as the bad guys in the city's budget battle.

One day after dropping a bombshell on the employee unions, Mayor Goodman claims he's received nothing but positive feedback so far from city employees who supposedly support his radical idea to fire and then re-hire thousands of city workers for less money.

Goodman says the city employees he's talked with understand and even support his plan to save jobs by cutting everyone's pay.

"Every phone call so far, and there have been plenty of them, have been supportive of my position," he said.

Goodman says an across-the-board pay cut would save the jobs of at least 146 fellow employees who will be laid off in June to help fill a $70 million budget shortfall.

But the president of the largest Las Vegas employees union says 8-percent over each of the next two years is taking too much money out of the employees' pockets.

"I think the majority of my members would be willing to give up something. Do I think they're willing to reach into their pockets to give 8-percent this year and another 8-percent next year? Probably not," said Donald King with the Las Vegas City Employees Association.

King and other city union leaders are calling the mayor's massive fire-rehire proposal a bully move and an unfair labor practice.

"Either we give them what they ask for or they're gonna lay people off," he said.

The mayor doesn't seem to be swayed.

"Right now, I'm looking to see how they will respond to the all or nothing approach," he said.

8 News Now could not find any Las Vegas city employees willing to voice their support for or against the mayor's rather radical proposal, but union leaders say they are currently surveying their own memberships to determine whether the many really are willing to sacrifice for the few.

The city attorney has not yet informed Mayor Goodman whether his proposal to fire thousands of city employees and then hire them back for less money is even legal.

If it's not, Goodman admits the city will have to consider other alternatives, including a property tax increase.

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