A union contract negotiated between the city and the United Public Service Employees Union will grant communications equipment operators a living wage with retroactive salary boost of $1,200 for employees.
The contract gives retroactive salary increases to union members going back to 2012, according to city document.
“It was decided the base salary will be increased — we normally would give them $25,000 to $27,000,” explained Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large.
A first time operator used to earn $25,800 annually upon employment; a new employee will now start at $27,000 per annum.
“They’ve been dealing with this for quite some time,” said Morris, who chairs the city council’s finance committee. “In fact, they haven’t had a contract since early 2007.”
A modified step system allows each year, July 1st, an increase of $1,200 for operators. The highest salary an operator can obtain climbing to step number ten stands at $34,200.
Long time employees earning in excess of $34,250 per year will see a retroactive increase of 2-percent going back to July 1st, 2012.
Police communications operators will receive 120 hours of sick leave annually; fire communications operators will receive 15-sick days up to 180 hours annually, read the agreement.
Morris said the contract was a fair bargain for the city and he added that the union’s membership, roughly 100 members, narrowly voted to approve the contract.
“Where’s the money going to come from?” asked Brent Nation, a city resident, during public the public portion of Tuesday’s council workshop. “We keep on doing this.”
Nation asked how much the contract will cost the city. Charles Thomas, the city’s business administrator, said the entire package will cost $191,604.
“I got a little scared there for nothing,” remarked Nation.
The resident was concerned over the city’s finances with large tax increasing hitting property owners every year.
Council members will vote on the agreement in their next regular meeting.