Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Cost of Tacoma pay raises: $11 million and counting

Post by Kim Bradford on Sep. 28, 2010 at 11:38 am with 8 Comments »
September 28, 2010 2:06 pm

An addendum to my post last week about the City of Tacoma figuring the costs of new union contracts: The city got back to me yesterday with more numbers.

These are the contracts that were negotiated last year. It appears it was good to go first: Four bargaining units representing 172 employees negotiated contracts with new salary schedules that boosted pay in many cases an average of 13 percent.

The total cost of pay raises for those four bargaining units: $1 million in 2009 and $1 million again this year. That brings us to a total of nine new contracts covering roughly 700 workers at a cost of $4.9 million through the end of 2010. That’s on top of the additional $6 million the city and its utilities paid to reset the pay of 942 nonunion workers last year.

More pay raises are supposedly on deck. The city and its utilities have yet to settle with six bargaining units representing roughly 1,100 workers – provided City Manager Eric Anderson’s reported pursuit of wage freezes doesn’t preempt those negotiations. We should know more at noon, when Anderson presents his budget to a study session of the city council. The council has an executive session on labor negotiations scheduled after the budget discussion.

UPDATE: Anderson clarified at today’s study session that his proposal for a wage freeze does not preclude bringing the remaining bargaining units to market pay by rejiggering salary scales. He did not say what he expects the costs of outstanding contracts to be.

Anderson also said, in response to a question from Councilman Jake Fey, that his budget proposal for the next two years is predicated on the assumption that he will be able to get all bargaining units to agree to not take a cost-of-living increase even if inflation would have normally dictated one under their current contracts. No word on what the impact to Anderson’s proposed budget would be if he doesn’t secure such understandings.

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. PumainTacoma says:

    Outrageous!!!! Simple Robbery. Tea-Party Unites more former Dems today, too.

  2. Are you embarrassed YET, Tacoma ?

  3. I suggest Anderson and council start by putting the garbage pick-up out for bid.

    Unfortunately, the council and Anderson seems to think putting operating expenses on the credit card is a good idea.

  4. tree_guy says:

    More raises for city employees?

    What part of recession, revenue shortfall, and being broke doesn’t the city manager understand? Just tell the bargaining team that raises are not possible at this time, get up, and leave the room.

  5. scott0962 says:

    What part of “revenue shortfall” and “recession” is too difficult for Tacoma’s managers to understand?

    I can empathize with the city’s employees wanting a pay raise, who doesn’t ? But could there possibly be a worse time to ask taxpayer to cough up more money for one? It’s difficult to imagine.

    It’s business as usual for the city’s employee unions and the wimps in charge of negotiating labor contracts for the city.

  6. comment_tayter says:

    A pay raise in many cases averaging 13%…

    Wow! That is just astonishing.

    Well, with figures like that being revealed, politicians should have no trouble figuring out the phenomenon of voter anger and why the Tea Party types get traction.

  7. nwcolorist says:

    These union officials again show their contempt for the Tacoma taxpayers.

    Does the word ‘greed’ come to mind?

  8. We have to increase taxes to cover the “short fall”, meaning we want more for us the city employee and less for you the fool that supports us. Remember we are in charge now not you the tax payer. Please remember to vote for your favorite democrat or the republicans will take all your money instead of us.

*
We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0