By Ralph Echtinaw
Wages seem to be rising everywhere, and that includes the city’s blue collar workers, who just approved two new three-year contracts.
The city’s five electrical workers, already the highest hourly employees in the city, received an unprecedented $6.50/hour increase from $31.91 to $38.41 in the contract’s first year and 2 percent a year for the next two years.
City Manager Kurt Giles and Councilman Roger Collison, who was part of negotiation process, researched what 17 other municipalities pay electrical workers, and St. Louis brought up the rear. The average pay for electrical workers in the 17 cities is $40.15.
“Probably our lineman are the lowest for any municipality in the state,” Collison said.
Also getting a new three-year contract are the city’s nine water/wastewater and DPW workers. However, they don’t hit the jackpot like electrical workers did, getting annual wages increases of 3 percent, 2 percent and 2 percent.
Wages depend on what position one fills but range from $20.64 to $25.65 in the contract’s first year.
Collison said negotiations were “congenial…, but cost-wise it was difficult for both sides.”