The Coalition of Compton Unions, which represents about 400 city employees, filed unfair labor practice charges with the California Public Employment Relations Board against the city of Compton in response to the City Council’s approval of a budget that called for worker layoffs and unilaterally imposed concessions on the remaining work force.

“Compton unilaterally changed the workers’ contracts without entering into negotiations,” said Glenn Rothner, an attorney representing the Coalition of Compton Unions. “Those actions violate state labor laws and even the city’s own rules.”

Nearly 100 Compton workers were laid off on Aug. 4, and prior to the layoffs Compton city workers had offered a package of concessions that they say would have preserved essential city services and kept everyone working. But their efforts to fill the budget hole with alternatives fell on deaf ears.

“We did everything we could to keep Compton working for the people who live here, but the City Council wasn’t interested in working with us to find solutions,” said Rose Downs, a Compton resident and 20-year veteran city analyst who lost her job and was demoted in the cuts. Downs, who is also president of AFSCME Local 3947, is a single mother and the sole wage earner in her household.

According to the union, Compton’s actions, particularly the Council’s decision to lay off a large swath of its work force, further exacerbates the social and economic woes of a city that already has the third-highest unemployment rate in Los Angeles County.

“Is more joblessness and despair really the right direction for our city?” Downs asked.
The Compton city attorney has not responded directly to the coalition’s charges.