City employees to vote on 3% pay cut
More than 800 city employees will see a 3 percent wage reduction and a 2 percent increase in pension contributions if they vote to support negotiated contracts terms announced by union representatives and city leaders Friday.
City Manager Gary King said the agreement is a “good step in the right direction,” and would likely help employees from being viewed negatively by the public.
King said he had not calculated the impact wage reductions will have on the taxpayers but it likely “will be in seven figures” and cover a pending budget shortfall.
“There are over 800 employees who stepped up and partnered with us … it’s a good step in the right direction,” King said.
The agreement, if approved, will cover blue and white collar workers, and supervisory units in Cape Coral.
Union President Wally Ilczyszyn said the average city worker went “from public servants to public enemies,” despite not having a pay raise in two years and serving multiple furloughs.
Ilczyszyn said the choice came down to layoffs or salary concessions. He classified the negotiations as “regressive bargaining.”
“We realize it’s painful … but someone had to step up to the plate,” he added.
The wage concessions affect only three of the city’s eight bargaining units. The city’s police and fire departments were still negotiating with the city as of Friday.
When asked if the wage reduction would apply to him, King said he essentially took a pay cut when hired by coming in at a lower salary. He did not confirm or deny he would be take a wage reduction himself, but did say he hopes these concessions “sends a powerful message to the rest of the unions.”
If approved by union members, the new concessions will become effective immediately and remain effective until Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
Ilczyszyn said tentative agreements have failed in the past, but he expected union members to vote the agreement into approval.