Scranton, Pa. Cuts Pay for City Workers to Minimum Wage
Friday, July 13, 2012
Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty
Mayor Chris Doherty of Scranton, Pennsylvania (population: 76,000), is not a popular man with public employee unions, not after slashing the salaries of 398 police, firefighters and other city workers down to minimum wage ($7.25/hr) starting with their paychecks last Friday.
Doherty, who has been the city’s mayor since 2002, claimed he had no choice due to the city’s financial problems.
Unions representing the public employees took Doherty, a Democrat, to court seeking a contempt hearing after the mayor ignored a judge’s ruling from last week that stated he could not unilaterally cut the workers’ salaries.
Attorney Thomas Jennings, who represents the unions, said the matter “has nothing to do with money.”
“They’re not broke,” Jennings told The Los Angeles Times. “What they have is a lack of political will. The mayor and the City Council have a differing opinion on funding. We don’t have a horse in that race….We’re just being squeezed.”
City Business Administrator Ryan McGowan said that, as of Monday, the city had $133,000 in cash, but owed $3.4 million in bills, including health insurance.
To learn More:
Scranton's Police, Fire and DPW Unions Will Sue in Federal Court (by Jim Lockwood, Scranton Times-Tribune)
Scranton Ignores Judge's Ruling, Cuts Worker Pay To Minimum Wage (by Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times)
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