Durham City Workers Continue to Fight for Full Pay Deserved

Sep 16, 2023

On the evening of Friday, September 15, Durham City Manager Wanda Page put out a public statement proposing a bonus including for Full-time Employees:

  • Gross salaries are less than $57,000 annually: $3,000 bonus
  • Gross salaries are between $57,000 – $90,000 annually: $2,500 bonus
  • Gross salaries are more than $90,000 annually: $2,000 bonus

Part-time Employees

  • $1,000 bonus

These one-time bonuses will use more than $6.5 million of our fund balance.

Members of the Durham City Workers Union, UE Local 150 are sticking with the demand for the $5,000 bonus for all city employees making less than $75,000. It is estimated that there are 1,300 low wage front line workers that should receive this $5,000 bonus which would keep within the spending limits of the City Manager’s proposal, around $6.5 million left over from last year’s fund balance. At the end of the FY2023, the city had over $18.3 million in cash on top of their $42 million in reserves. A significant portion of that money rolled over from FY2023 is from lapsed salary funds. These savings are due to the extra work of those currently employed to fill in for the hundreds of vacant positions.

The city can responsibly spend this money now and have plenty to roll over into the current fiscal year for unexpected one-time expenditures.

The immediate demand of $5,000 is just a first step to adjust workers compensation to keep up with the soaring cost of housing, food, childcare, education and other living expenses. Additionally, the union is continuing to demand that the City pay all workers for all work outside their job titles, as well as hire all temporary employees as permanent.

The City is currently working to develop a Compensation and Classification Study to adjust workers wages in next year’s budget, which will be voted on in the Spring of 2024. We look forward to working collaboratively with the City Manager’s office and other city officials to ensure the proposals address workers core economic needs. The union is proposing that the minimum wage for city employees be increased to $25 per hour. All heavy equipment CDL drivers should start at $35 per hour.

Workers are also scheduled to rally and speak-out at the next City Council meeting at 6:30pm at City Hall on Monday, September 18. Workers will also be attending the City Council work session at 1:00pm next Thursday, September 21 where we are urging the rules to be suspended so that a vote can be taken on the bonus.

Press may contact John Burwell, Solid Waste operator and UE150 steward at 336-736-7678 for questions. Press is invited to attend the rally tonight and city council meeting on Monday, September 18 to interview workers.


The Durham City Workers Union is a chapter of the NC Public Service Workers Union, UE Local 150 which has over 5,800 members that work in municipalities, state facilities and private industries across sixteen counties stretching from Morganton to Kinston, North Carolina. Learn more at ue150.org or follow us on Twitter or Facebook @UE150union