An official with Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s administration told Mobile City Council members Tuesday a dialogue was continuing with public works employees over demands for better pay even though no raises were reflected in Stimpson’s 2019 proposed budget.
Garbage, trash and other department workers are asking for a 15 percent raise and a $5,000 bonus, Denise Challet, who was speaking on behalf of workers, said. She added that this is less than the 25 percent raises the workers feel they are due because of a lack of increases over the last decade. The funds, she told councilors, could come from cutting some of Stimpson’s appointees.
Wesley Young, president of the Mobile Public Works Employees advocacy group, said the lack of raises in the proposed budget was “disturbing.” He added that employees asked for a meeting with Stimpson and instead were given a meeting with city attorney Ricardo Woods and Public Works Executive Director John Peavy.
“The mayor hasn’t shown up yet,” Young said.
According to Young, the group had a second meeting with administration officials where they showed them where money could be found, adding that a third one was promised but hasn’t been set up yet.
“It’s astounding to see the administration take employees, string them around their hands and throw them like they are nothing,” he said. “It’s all about the rich and powerful and we’re not rich.”
Woods told councilors the administration is “not yet finished talking” to employees. He added that Young was not present at the meetings and that “not everything that was said was completely accurate.”
Public works employees have been present and have spoken at council meetings throughout the year, in reference to harassment, mistreatment and the need for raises. The employees referenced the bonuses and step raises public safety employees received during last year’s budget cycle.
Early on in the discussions, administration officials said they hadn’t considered the public works employees for raises in the past because salaries for the department were in line with other major Alabama cities. Whereas, they said public safety employees were making less than peers in those same cities.
Stimpson’s proposed $309 million spending plan includes a $2 million increase for public works, but that money is not used for raises.