Charlotte City workers demand rescue from the American Rescue Plan including hazard pay and a real raise

Apr 21, 2021

On Thursday, April 15, Charlotte City Workers Union chapter of UE Local 150 hosted a press action.

City of Charlotte workers who kept our city running through the course of the COVID-19 pandemic are now asking city officials to rescue them. The City of Charlotte is scheduled to receive nearly $149 million from the American Rescue Plan, yet the raises planned in the City Manager’s proposed budget do not reflect this. 

“Ever since the pandemic, we have been working making sure the city is running. We were given 5% hazard pay for a few months, then it was cancelled at beginning of the year, despite the pandemic continuing,” said Dominic Harris, Crew Chief 1, Charlotte Water, President of the Charlotte City Workers Union, UE Local 150. Harris continued, “It seems that city workers have been put on the back burner. Not one conversation that happens between City Council, City Manager and leadership prioritizes us. The city workers because we do.”

Kris Barrows, LYNX Lighrail rail car mechanic, and Vice President of the Charlotte City Workers Union stated that “we are also demanding retroactive hazard pay for the light rail mechanics who have kept the trains running throughout the pandemic. Their omission from the original list of hazard pay recipients is not only insulting, but just another example of the City’s disregard for the health and safety of its employees and their families.”

Several hundred city workers have signed petitions demanding the following:

    1. Fully fund the wage structure adopted in 2017 for non-exempt employees’ pay. This structure should  be based on overall years with the city, not just years in a certain job title.
    2. Workers should receive a $3,000.00 average merit raise, based on the established matrix system.
    3. Continuation of hazard pay including back pay from present to January 2, 2021, and increased to 20%.
  2. AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE –  Support Universal Single-Payer healthcare, Improved and Expanded Medicare for All.
    1. COVID-19 vaccination needs to be available to all city employees now!
    1. Overtime: Workers should be granted daily overtime pay of time and a half for all hours worked  beyond a scheduled regular 8/10 hour work day.
    2. Stand-by pay should be increased to $3/hour
    3. Holiday pay: Workers should get paid triple pay for hours worked on holidays. 
    4. Vacation roll over: Workers should not be penalized for not being able to take vacation, all hours earned should be rolled over automatically to the next calendar year.
    5. Shift differential of 10% for all evening and weekend shifts.
  4. Extend paid COVID Leave, and allow 80 additional hours in the event of positive COVID test results
  5. UNIVERSAL SICK POLICY – Same sick policy for every department.

The press is invited to interview workers to learn more about the action last week and their continued struggle. 

Watch video of the full press conference here: