City Councilors Ask Manager To Reconsider City Pay Cuts
The Cambridge City Council at a meeting attended by about 200 public employees, voted last night to request City Manager James L. Sullivan to rescind his demand that city workers take a 5-per-cent pay cut this year.
The council also asked that Sullivan, rather than his aides, be present at the next negotiating session to consider the workers demands.
Independent Councilors Daniel J. Clinton and Thomas W. Danehy both criticized the city manager for his handling of the dispute. "This manager is anti-labor and has a record of it in almost every city he's been bounced from." Clinton said.
Interrupted by cheers from the audience. Clinton said he would support the manager's ouster. "He's not my city manager. I didn't bring him and I'll be happy to close the door behind him," he said.
Danehy offered to submit a motion to fire Sullivan. "Either he comes across or he goes bye-bye" he said.
Michael Fineberg, counsel for Local 195, representing the Departments of Public Works. Hospital, Infirmary, Library and Recreation, told the council that the proposed pay cut is the major stumbling block in the negotiations now underway between the city and the workers.
Before the order passed. Fineberg termed his local's appeal to the council "almost a last resort."
If the council order fails to convince Sullivan to modify his demands, Fineberg hinted, the union would take some kind of strike action.
"Our last resort would be the possibility that workers would find that the attitude of the city was such that they couldn't continue to work for the city," he said.
Councilor David A. Wylie, who supported the order but opposes any pay increase for the workers, accused Danehy and Clinton of trying to make political capital out of the workers' demands. "Danehy and Clinton are using this as a means to embarrass the city manager," he said.
Wylie said the manager was offering the workers other benefits which would compensate for the prospective pay cut. "I suggest that the city employees slow down a little," he said.
Boos and Jeers
Wylie's statement drew boos and jeers from the galleries.
He also told the council that Sullivan was defending the interests of the city's taxpayers. "It's not Jim Sullivan's responsibility to lie down and play dead," he said.
Councilor Francis H. Duehay '55 said the current economic situation makes any pay increase for public workers unlikely. "The sense of the council is the status quo in terms of money 'outgo' for the city," he said.
Local 195 has been negotiating with Cambridge since its contract expired December 31, 1974. The next negotiating session, which the council asked Sullivan to attend, will take place April 22.