Mayor Setti Warren, and his administration, deserve much credit for negotiating ground-breaking contracts with our 17 unions that limit the combined growth of employee salaries and benefits to 2 1/2 percent. No other MA community has done this.
It is also important to recognize the significant contributions of union leaders and their members for working hand-in-glove with the administration to make this happen.
After all, unions and management are almost inherently at odds with each other in negotiations. That Setti and his team was able to set out the economic realities when a city is limited to that 2 1/2 percent growth mandated by Proposition 2 1/2, and to have the unions both grasp that reality and to realize how anything more than that ultimately works against even the employees' interest is such a sign of responsible leadership.
It's also, I would submit, a sign of the kind of credibility that Setti earned with union leaders, such that they felt they could actually develop a set of contracts along these lines that could be successfully presented to their membership.
Some have argued that it would have been easy to put in place new contracts that would have limited the contracts to zero growth, or even absolute reductions in compensation. That is just not a credible position to take in the real world, and puts into question a lot of their other proposed recommendations as well.
I'd urge citizens to recognize the significant contribution our unionized employees made to helping tame the structural deficit. Without that flexibility they brought to the table, we'd be faced with a much larger request for additional funding.
Please join me in voting yes on all three ballot questions on March 12.
For more information about the override, check out: http://buildingnewtonsfuture.org/
Honorary co-chair, Building Newton’s Future