The city may fire as many as 22,000 employees in order to make up for staggering revenue shortfalls, Mayor de Blasio said Wednesday.
“We have to talk about the last resort. The last resort would be layoffs and furloughs,” he said at a press conference.
“The last resort would be the thing I don’t want to do and none of us should want to see happen — taking away the jobs of city workers,” he continued, “who we depend on, and their families depend on them for their livelihood, but we are running out of options here.”
After the outbreak of coronavirus and accompanying economic havoc, de Blasio trimmed his proposed budget for the year from $95 billion to $87.
That was based on expected loss of tax revenue on the order of $7.4 billion.
But now de Blasio says the revenue loss could be around $9 billion, necessitating additional cuts.
“It is really important to understand how tough the situation is,” he said. “And it’s not going to get better in the short term.”
Protesters are seen occupying the area outside New York City Hall early Wednesday morning. A group called Vocal-NY are demanding a $1 billion cut from the NYPD's nearly $6 billion budget. Vocal-NY says the money should be invested in housing, health care and social services. (Luiz C. Ribeiro/for New York Daily News)
The announcement came after weeks of unsuccessful pleas from de Blasio, Gov. Cuomo and leaders around the country to send billions of dollars to bail out localities reeling from the economic effects of coronavirus. To date, President Trump and Senate Republicans have rejected the calls.
Hizzoner has also asked Albany to allow the city to take out loans to cover operating expenses — a move not taken since the aftermath of 9/11 — though the governor and legislative leaders have balked.
Wednesday wasn’t the first time de Blasio raised the specter of layoffs, but he shared more detail than before.
He said he hoped labor leaders would help find budget “efficiencies” through the collective bargaining process, but noted the city has a short time table — under state law, the mayor and City Council have to finalize the budget by June 30.
“We are hopeful we can keep finding solutions,” Hizzoner said. “But if we can’t by the time we have to vote this budget by law, if it’s not there, then we are going to have to book those layoffs.”
The head of of the Municipal Labor Committee, which handles health insurance and other benefits for city workers, described the mayor’s layoff proposal as “a little premature.”
“Why he’s doing it now, I don’t know,” Harry Nespoli told the Daily News. “But let’s face it, what this city needs right now is help from Washington.
“Layoffs don’t help,” he added. “What layoffs do is cut services.”
DC 37, the largest public employee union in the city, declined to comment.
Protesters are seen occupying the area outside New York City Hall early Wednesday morning. A group called Vocal-NY are demanding a $1 billion cut from the NYPDs nearly $6 billion budget. (Luiz C. Ribeiro/for New York Daily News)
Councilman Ben Kallos, who recently outlined billions of dollars in cuts to pork spending, rejected the mayor’s proposal to fire city workers.
“It is outrageous to fire dedicated city employees who make next to nothing just so we can keep bloated contracts with big corporations,” the Manhattan Dem told the Daily News.
Amid the talk of layoffs, city leaders have shied away from taking pay cuts themselves.