Nearly all 19 public works employees turned out to see if Tuskegee city council members were going to listen to their demand of a raise. And they did, voting unanimously to raise the average base hourly rate from $7.72 to $8.50. They also voted in favor of the increase going into effect the next pay period.
"It was long overdue for it. Now is the time. We have achieved what we wanted so I feel pretty good about it," Tuskegee service maintenance worker Dontae Brown said.
Brown says the raise will take him from around $16,000 a year to $18,400. He says it took a strike to get the raise and he's grateful for the council's decision.
"And hopefully in the near future, we can get the rest of it and that way you won't even anybody wanting to disregard or leave their job," Brown said.
Brown is referring to the 15% reduction in pay city employees were already feeling. Many have had 5 percent of the pay restored, but the street and sanitation workers have been at the bottom of the pay scale for years.
"The sanitation workers will get the 15% once it is done plus, what we have done today, which gives them the kind of salaries and benefits commerciale to all the employees in the city and compared to what they receive in other cities our size," Tuskegee mayor Johnny Ford said.
Raising the public works employee hourly rate will cost an additional $18,000. Mayor Ford says that money will come from the general budget. Ford says the city can afford to pay for the increase.
During the special called meeting, council members also voted to purchase two vans for the senior citizen program. The state will pay 80 percent of the costs.
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