City workers win raises, new benefits

Pay raises, bonuses, family or medical leave included


ST. LOUIS Board of Alderman

Some 5,000 St. Louis city employees will now enjoy paid family and medical leave in addition to a substantial pay increase thanks to support and constant pressure from a wide range of organizations and unions.

That support came from Missouri Jobs with Justice (JwJ), AFSCME Council 31and Local 410, the St. Louis NAACP, the Coalition of Black Trades Unionists (CBTU) and two dozen other groups.

“We have known for years that our public servants are drastically underpaid,” said JwJ Policy Director Richard VonGlahn. “This budget takes important steps toward addressing this issue and fulfills Mayor Jones’ promise that paid family leave should be the norm for working families. It makes St. Louis a better place to work.”

City workers will now see:

  • Major pay boost: A plan promoted by Mayor Tishaura Jones and approved by the Board of Aldermen will provide workers a three percent pay raise on July 1 and 1.5 percent step increases on the anniversary of their hiring.
  • Retention bonuses of $2,000 per employee, to be paid on July 22 to help retain current workers. The city has more than 1,000 vacancies.
  • Paid family and medical leave (FMLA) to help city workers manage work and family obligations when a newborn comes into the family or there’s a medical crisis.

It was AFSCME Council 61 who originally negotiated the $2,000 retention bonus that the city gave to all employees. “We are thrilled that the city saw fit to give that bonus to all employees,” said Council Chief of Staff Matthew Butler.

“For too long, our families and communities have been forced to choose between making ends meet and being there for our loved ones in times of need,” said Caitlyn Adams, JwJ executive director.

“I would like to applaud Mayor Tishaura Jones and the Board of Alderman for making paid FMLA for city workers a reality,” said Mark Cavanah, AFSCME Local 410 organizing director/administrator, who represents hundreds of city workers in Refuse, Water, and the Airport.

“This will help those who are put into a situation that would negatively impact their finances by having to care for a loved one or child, or to recover from illness,” Cavanah said. “We need more leaders to step up and make this a reality across the St. Louis Metro area and eventually nationwide.”

Unfortunately, state pre-emption laws prevent the city from enacting a stronger blanket policy for all workers in the city, but with this example from St. Louis city, other employers may soon follow, JwJ said in applauding these latest developments.

The following groups, in addition to those already mentioned, played an important role in the passage of the earned benefits: AAUW Metro St. Louis Interbranch Council • AAUW MO • A Better Balance • Advocates of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Missouri Section • Action St. Louis • Beyond Housing • Child Day Care Association Of Saint Louis (United 4 Children) • Empower Missouri • Fathers and Families Support Center • Gateway to Hope • Generate Health St. Louis • League of Women Voters of Metro St. Louis • Living with Purpose • Missouri Healthcare for All • National Council of Jewish Women • National Partnership for Women and Families • National Women’s Political Caucus – MO • National Women’s Political Caucus – STL • Pro-Choice Missouri • Quinn Chapel AME Church • SkiWise Health and Wellness Services • Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis and • Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice.

St Louis County is already looking to expand on their policy, which currently offers two weeks of paid time, but proposed legislation would go up to 12 weeks in instances of childbirth or adoption.


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