NYC delays laying off 22,000 municipal workers as union calls on state to increase city borrowing capacity

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech

The city is delaying layoffs for 22,000 city workers after a municipal labor union asked for more time to try and pressure the state legislature to consider increasing the city’s long-term borrowing capacity, Mayor de Blasio said on Monday.

Agencies were set to be notified Monday of the Oct. 1 employee layoffs but now the de Blasio administration will reassess the status of layoffs “every single day” as it encourages unions to come up with more cost-saving measures and urge state lawmakers to reconvene.

“I’m hoping this pause will lead to more progress in Albany because of the intense commitment of labor to getting it done,” de Blasio told reporters. “And I want to say, in the last few days, we’ve seen more and more signs of support of support of long-term borrowing.” De Blasio also said that conversations about upping the city’s borrowing ability were improving in June.

De Blasio first warned of massive municipal worker layoffs in before city budget negotiations in June after repeated calls for more aid from Washington and Albany to help the city fill an over $9 billion budget gap over the next two years caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic and  $ 1 billion in proposed labor savings. State lawmakers and the governor were not supportive of the idea.

But the mayor has garnered support recently on pressing Albany for more borrowing power from the New York City Council which is scheduled to vote on a resolution in support of long-term borrowing in a few days.  In addition to gathering the support of the Municipal Labor Committee, New York State Association of Counties, the New York Conference of Mayors and 119 city clergy members, according to City Hall. Blasio has also dropped his requested borrowing amount from $ 7 billion to $5 billion.

“We need them to step-up and pass long-term borrowing. That’s what would avert the layoffs instantly and that’s what we’ll be working on over these next few days,” de Blasio added.

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