By IAN DONNIS
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A labor agreement signed Wednesday makes a small dent in Providence's current deficit, but Mayor Angel Taveras says it still marks an important step.
Taveras says the agreement with Local 1033 of the Laborers International Union will save $26 million over four years. It includes a one percent pay cut, higher health insurance co-pays, and an incentive to trim the city workforce through attrition.
Taveras says union members' unanimous support for the agreement doesn't mean the city should have pressed for steeper concessions.
"This is really an unprecedented agreement during unprecedented times," says Taveras. "People were very concerned, and we're so happy to be able to reach an agreement that does not include layoffs, but can reduce the workforce through incentives."
Local 1033's business manager, Donald Iannazzi, says union members want to see Providence bounce back from its fiscal problems. Iannazzi also says he'll be looking to Taveras for pay hikes when the economy gets better.
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