Some Tacoma employees, in critical technical positions, have received no inflation adjusted pay increase for three decades.
My wife has been in the same job classification for the City of Tacoma for 29 years. Prior to the recent pay increase her pay rate was 2% LESS than if her pay had kept pace with the Puget Sound Office Workers CPI.
Her total inflation adjusted take home pay is now exactly the same as the first day she worked for Tacoma because she now pays several hundred dollars more per pay period for benefits and retirement than when she started in 1981 – Even with the recent 3% pay increase!
Her work is far more technical and stressful than in 1981 and now requires a state license with annual educational requirements and significant regulatory knowledge. She must deal with a daunting array of computer systems, sophisticated measurement devices, and communications equipment and is now proficient with an increasing variety of computer products and hardware. She must now interact with many private, federal, and state agencies. None of that work was part of the original job description and she still has to perform all the duties she did in 1981.
She more productive than 29 years ago, she provides a much more important service to the city, she has many more responsibilities, technical skills, and obligations yet she takes home exactly the same pay as when she first began her employment over 29 years ago.