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Atherton council backs staff layoffs

Union files lawsuit, seeks restraining order

In a closed-session meeting Tuesday afternoon (July 12), the Atherton City Council "affirmed the actions of the City Manager in effecting layoffs of personnel," according to a statement issued by Deputy City Clerk Theresa DellaSanta.

No formal vote was taken, she said.

The council support frustrates the hopes for a negotiated agreement between the town and the union trying to save the jobs of 12 employees in the town's Building and Public Works departments. The employees are scheduled for layoff this Friday.

But the union representing the staff promises a fight. Peter Finn, a Teamsters Union Local 856 representative, said the union has filed a lawsuit in San Mateo County Superior Court, basing it on a section of the state government code that, according to the union, makes it illegal for the town to outsource the jobs it has targeted.

Finn did not provide the section of the government code in question.

The union, he said, is planning to ask the court for a restraining order that would prevent the layoffs and the contracting out of services.

The town has received bids from private firms to provide the services that traditionally have been provided by town staff. The council may be asked to approve contracts for the outsourced services as early as July 20 during its regular meeting, Interim City Manager John Danielson said.

Union representatives continue to press the town to reconsider the move toward outsourcing services, and employees have offered concessions in compensation that would save the town at least $300,000, according to union representative Peter Finn.

Danielson said his decision to eliminate the in-house jobs and hire private firms to provide the services stems from the need to erase an $857,000 structural budget deficit.

Related stories:

Labor council steps into Atherton staff layoff fray

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