The union that represents almost half of the city’s employees (AFSCME) voted down a tentative contract agreement Monday because there are no cost of living adjustments for the first three years and only a 1.5% and 2% increase for the fourth and fifth years. This is according to AFSCME president Kevin Loso who also says the union is currently asking for a cost of living adjustment that matches the consumer price index for the second year. Loso also offers that the union will not pursue a retroactive pay increase for this last year, negotiations began in 2013 and employees have been working without having a contract.
Union members also took issue with the fact that the city previously said it would not be providing raises for exempt employees either but has budgeted money for raises and promotions for exempt staff while the union members remain without pay increases. AFSCME is waiting for feedback on their rejection of the agreement and will give the city a final proposal this week. If the city rejects the proposal AFSCME will have 30 days before the city’s proposed contract takes effect. The union would vote on whether or not to strike during that time.
A decision to strike requires a ten day notice to the city and would effect all departments except fire, dispatch and active police officers. If the city accepts the proposal AFSCME members will still need to vote on the contract. Last September both parties came to a tentative agreement but the actual contract language included changes the union didn’t agree with and it was voted down. City council members expressed confidence that the management and employees could come to an agreement
220 of the city’s 450 employees belong to AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees.
By Alexandra Schaefers