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Fremont unions respond to unpaid leave demand

So it looks like Fremont’s plan to save $1.8 million is to close City Hall for the last two weeks of 2010. That would result in six day of lost wages for non-sworn employees, because they are already scheduled for two paid vacation days both weeks corresponding to Christmas and New Years.

Police and Fire would have to stagger their unpaid leave, but it would still equal 48 hours of no work and no pay.

I talked briefly to the heads of three unions.

Terry Wong, who heads the Fremont Association of City employees seemed resigned to it. “We’re not happy about it,” he said. “I suppose it’s better than additional layoffs.

Kathy Cote, who heads the union representing managers and who will be quoted in tomorrow’s paper, kind of defended it.

“It’s certainly less impactful on city employees than laying of permanent staff,” she said.

I actually had to tweak her quote for the paper because in turns out “impactful” is not a word. Still, it was fun to hear a union leader use management jargon.

Gregg Pipp of the Police Officers Association said it was too early to comment, but made it clear that the union first wanted to look over the city’s finances before agreeing to anything. He said officers ended up taking a 1.1 percent hourly pay cut this past year because they’re working slightly longer for the same pay.

Matt Artz