COVID-19: NYC Quote of the Day 2020-08-13

Wednesday, August 12, 2020, NYC Mayor de Blasio - 22,000 Layoffs of Municipal Workers on October 1

Question: I spoke with somebody who feels there's a bit of fear-mongering, that the breadth of layoffs you've been talking about is not really what's necessary. There are other cuts that could be found in the city's budget, and I was wondering if you could address that? 22,000 is the number you've been putting out there. Does that still hold?

Mayor: Remember, we took this budget down from what we projected in February, we cut the budget by billions and billions of dollars already. The overwhelming cost of local government is personnel, where we put our money is into the people who provide service to New Yorkers, whether they're first responders, healthcare workers, sanitation workers, educators, you name it, that's where the greatest impact comes from in terms of serving people. But that's also where the costs are. If you got to keep cutting and keep cutting, it has to, at some point, reach personnel, that's just the pure logic of budgets, and it's very sad logic. I don't like it one bit and I want to avert this at all costs. So that 22,000 number is painfully real, that's for October 1st, here's the reality. We all hoped and prayed there'd be a stimulus that appears to be dead now. We're going to Albany to ask for appropriate long-term borrowing capacity that would stave off the layoffs. If we don't have that, we're going to keep working with labor, looking for every solution, every kind of savings. But if we don't have something else that stops it, we do plan 22,000 layoffs on October 1st. It's a massive, painful number. The job here is to try and avert it if we can.

Question: Do you expect the 22,000 layoffs to be spread across all city agencies, including the NYPD?

Mayor: Every agency has to come back with a lot of savings. Every single agency will have to save a lot of money, and generally that will take the form of layoffs.

Question: What are you doing in terms of the unions? Are you telling the unions we're going to have to lay off city workers if we don't renegotiate these contracts?

Mayor: We've been having this conversation with unions for months, it's not a surprise to any municipal labor union. We've been in constant conversations with the biggest unions that represent the vast majority of the workers, and everyone takes it very, very seriously. I wouldn't call it renegotiate contracts, because that sounds much broader. It is to find the kind of savings that could avert the layoffs, and I know the unions take this seriously. No one wants to see layoffs, we're talking about tens of thousands of families that would be affected. I don't want to see that happen, and I don't want to see New Yorkers suffer the loss of services. So we're going to do everything we can to avert that.
Edited for redundancy, grammar, and emphasis
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