WorkShare program to save $500,000; City Hall closed Fridays

WorkShare program to save $500,000; City Hall closed Fridays

Though not eligible for program, mayor will also take a pay cut

PAWTUCKET – A second wave of the city’s WorkShare program, planned across departments, will save more than $500,000 in taxpayer money and not adversely impact municipal functions, say officials.

The second round of the WorkShare program was overwhelmingly approved by both Local 1012 and Local 3960 unions.

The administration, working with the City Council and employees, is looking at ways to offset costs that minimally impact services.

“The city must act in these uncertain financial times as communities deal with COVID and as the state of Rhode Island holds back on its payments to municipalities,” states a release.

To achieve the anticipated $500,000 in savings during WorkShare, City Hall will be closed one day each week, mostly Fridays, beginning Oct. 23 through the end of December.

“These are challenging times as budgets across the state and country have been met with uncertainty amid the coronavirus pandemic,” said Mayor Donald Grebien. “As we work with the City Council to hold the line on taxes, it is important that we continue to make financially responsible decisions for our hardworking residents and businesses.”

Asked about comments by some city leaders about how a first round of WorkShare impacted the city’s ability to address some larger initiatives, Wilder Arboleda, spokesman for Grebien, said the city maintained all services throughout the first round, despite having fewer employees working.

“The one-day-a-week closure will enable operations to continue as normal on the other days,” he said.

“I want to thank the unions and employees for their continued commitment to the city and community,” said Grebien. “I am confident that, together, we will get through this.”

Employees, including directors, will be entering the WorkShare Program. As Grebien is not allowed to enter the program, he has opted to reduce his wages to be in line with all employees who are participating in the program. Asked how much that paycut will add up to, spokesman Wilder Arboleda said it will be almost $3,000 over 11 weeks, or close to 15 percent per week.

WorkShare, a program offered by the Unemployment Insurance Division in the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, allows qualified employers to reduce the hours of work for employees rather than lay them off completely during a time of economic hardship.

The School Department will not be included in WorkShare. School officials previously absorbed criticism after a failed application for the program. School officials subsequently indicated that they weren’t comfortable revising the application to state that layoffs were imminent if they weren’t planning layoffs.

City Hall will continue to operate beginning on the week of Oct. 19 from Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by appointment. Call 401-728-0500 or visit www.pawtucketri.com.

Comments

RI Taxpayers foot the bill through Workshare in order for Pawtucket employees to enjoy a paid day off and save the city $ 500,000 . Just Google RI WORKSHARE .