Mayor Bloomberg warns of possible round of layoffs

THE BRONX - Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that as many as 7,000 New York City employees could be laid off by the beginning of the summer.

The city is asking every agency to cut 4 percent of its work force. Uniformed services, including police, fire, correction and sanitations departments, only need to lay off 0.5 percent of their employees, while the Department of Education must decrease its staff by 1.4 percent.

The Office of Management and Budget sent out a letter to every city agency, saying that since the announcement of the budget in January, "the economic outlook nationally and locally has continued to deteriorate," thus increasing the need to lay off workers in order to help close the deficit.

Officials expect that the layoffs will save more than $350 million a year. The agencies have to submit their staff reductions by Monday. The budget, which is due in June, will include this latest round of layoffs only if the city does not receive funds from the state.

In the meantime, the city is seeking concessions from labor unions on health care costs and looking to increase the sales tax as an alternative to layoffs.

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