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Wausau Union President Says Job Cuts Are Coming

By: Ben Fischer Email
By: Ben Fischer Email

Over the last several weeks, Wausau’s leaders have been working to try to solve a $1.5 million budget shortfall.

Part of their original plan to save money included asking the city's unions to make some concessions.

"They came to us, asked us, we're short, we're not gonna make the budget," said Joe Blair, President of the Locals 1287 DPW.

Looking for an answer to help solve the city's budget deficit, Wausau leaders asked the city's unions to make some sacrifices, to the tune of nearly $350,000.

"Give your raises back, and we're not gonna guarantee that we're not gonna lay you off anyways, and all the locals said no, we're not gonna give up our raises," said Blair.

The mayor wouldn't comment to NewsChannel 7 following the unions' decisions Friday.

But he did tell the union presidents what they can expect next.

"He pretty much said at that point, said that's it, I’m announcing layoffs next week," said Blair.

It's a decision that could have some unwanted affects.

Blair says the decision to cut jobs could end up jeopardizing public safety.

"The public safety is gonna take a hit, it already is. The decision with the crossing guards. It's just not public works, and City Hall clerical staff. It's across the board, police and fire," said Blair.

Blair believes cutting jobs isn't the city's last resort and there are other options to the city should consider before laying off workers.

"This whole time while we're meeting, while we're doing a good faith effort, the city is spending money on some capital improvement projects. Three hundred and twenty thousand [dollars] on a River Edge Trail next year. We're confused, we just don't get it," said Blair.

"If you don't have the people there to provide the work, you ain't gonna get any work done. Needless to say, we're a little perplexed," said Blair.

There's no word on how many jobs could be cut.

Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple said he would be willing to talk to NewsChannel 7 early next week.

We'll bring you updates as they become available right here on wsaw.com and NewsChannel 7.


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