The Engineers and Architects Association, a union representing 5,000 city workers, ratified a contract that would have the employees pay about five percent of their monthly health-care premiums, up from zero. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraiogosa's office hailed it as an unprecedented and much-needed concession that will reduce the number of furlough days for EAA's members.

Villaraigosa planned a noon press conference Tuesday to trumpet the deal. The city has a fragile budget that will rely on more union concessions to stay out of the red without further layoffs.

In this case the EAA also agreed to $20 for doctors visits, up from $10, according to the mayor's office. As we reported previously, the EAA had rejected just such a deal amid allegations that an outside labor organization was lobbying its members to resist concessions.

This time around most of the 5,000 members came to a memorandum of understanding, with City News Service reporting they had, in fact, ratified the deal. The agreement will have the city reduce furlough days for union members from 26 to 10.

According to a statement from Villaraigosa's office:

Over the next five years, healthcare costs for city workers are expected to rise from $361 million to $514 million … This is the first time a civilian city union has agreed to share any portion of the cost of basic health insurance.

LA Weekly