San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom cut the workweek for 15,000 full-time city employees to 37.5 hours Friday as a cost-cutting measure.
The mayor's office also clarified that approximately 15,000 of the city's 26,000 workers were to start receiving layoff notices Friday and over the weekend, and not 20,000 as it said earlier.
Newsom said the plan will save the city $50 million from its general fund, and $100 million from the entire city budget.
The city has an estimated budget deficit of $522 million for the coming fiscal year.
"This is a very defensible thing, in a very difficult time," Newsom insisted.
Newsom said the layoff notices are a "technical" measure, and that the "overwhelming majority" of the noticed workers will be rehired immediately, should they so choose, but at a part-time status, working a half-hour less each day. That would amount to an approximately 6.25-percent pay cut, he said.
"This is a way of ... substantially maintaining our city services," Newsom said. He said it will save "arguably thousands of jobs," though future additional layoffs will still be necessary, he added.
"We are offering what we believe is a very pro-labor ... at least a pro-job alternative," Newsom said. He maintained that ongoing discussions with labor groups have not resulted in "any better ideas."
Positions that "clearly generate revenue" are being spared layoff notices, Newsom said, but the plan "will impact every city department."
Additionally, Newsom said he's been asking for similar 6.25-percent concessions from other city departments, such as police, who can't be asked for these layoffs because of the charter.
Newsom fended off union contentions that he doesn't have the authority to issue these layoffs.