Meeting was positive, but time for action is now!
On April 8, 2021, key UE union city worker leaders met with City Council member Sabrina Wooten. Representing UE at the meeting was Terry Green (Public Utilities, Water), Jock Hill (Public Utilities, Sewer), Devon Conley (Public Works, Highways/Stormwater), Steven Wilson (Public Works, Mosquito Control) and Dante Strobino (UE International Rep). We had 5 other workers from different departments that had planned to attend that could not make it due to illness or family responsibilities.
Overall the meeting went very well. Wooten stated very clearly that she supports us forming the union and will support a resolution for collective bargaining to pass the city council.
Our members did an excellent job speaking about the three main issues in our petition
- Overhaul the entire wage structure
- 10% hazard pay
- Stop abuse of power and threats from management
Through the course of the conversation, she explained that while the City Manager Duhaney is proposing 3% raise, she and city council member Aaron Rouse are asking for 5%, since that is what the teachers, and likely firefighters will get.
We had lots of discussion about how the entire pay scale is off track, that even a few % points would not catch us up because we are decades behind. To that point, she did respond to the union’s request for information about the current market wage study. She said the city is currently planning to set aside $3 million in the budget to go towards these salary adjustments, this includes the entire city including us and police and fire. This amount of money is completely inadequate.
She said that the study will likely be complete sometime by the fall and the council will have to vote on when the raise goes into effect, if any.
Lastly, she introduced us to Reverend Perez Gatling, who hosted the meeting at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Rev. Gatling is a powerful community and faith leader that pledged his support of our campaign. He agreed to bring our issues in front of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, a city-wide alliance of 25 churches of all faiths and races, to see if they will support us too! This could be huge!