Laborers Local 955 – Columbia city workers’ union – hosts public meet and greet to talk about city services

MEMBERS OF LABORERS’ LOCAL 955 protested outside city hall during the Columbia city manager’s state of the city address May 31. – Brian Hauswirth/the Eagle photo

Columbia, MO – Laborers (LiUNA) Local 955 members protested during the City of Columbia’s State of the City address on May 31 with banners reading “Shame on City Management” and a blown-up inflatable rat.

Local 955 represents service and maintenance workers as well as public works and utility workers in Columbia. Members protested city management’s most recent wage proposal and passed out handbills informing the public of some of the egregious details of the City’s current contract offer, such as:

  • Pay decreases of $5.82/hour on average for residential solid waste and recycling workers. (The City’s most recent proposal removes “add pay” – a significant portion of a worker’s current take-home pay.)
  • Average pay increases of only 61 cents hour for experienced city bus drivers with 5+ years of service.
  • Average pay increase of only 83 cents hour for mechanics, while the City faces a severe mechanic shortage, as reported on March 7, 2023, in the Columbia Missourian.

“Budgets are moral documents,” said Union Representative Andrew Hutchinson. “Show me what you spend money on – that is where your values are. This city administration would rather spend millions of taxpayer dollars on corporations’ exploitative temporary labor than be an employer of choice and treat its workers right. That’s why bus routes are getting cut. That’s why the City’s recycling pickup is indefinitely cut. Right now, City management’s actions do not value its essential workers or their families.”

The City of Columbia, as revealed by Sunshine requests by the union:

  • Paid $3.8 million combined in the last three fiscal years for outside maintenance work on fleet vehicles.
  • Had nearly 30 percent vacancies across all 955-represented departments as of February 2023.
  • Paid over $2 million combined, as of March 2023, in the last three fiscal years to temporary labor contractors for labor that in-house workers could have performed at a fraction of the cost.

LiUNA Local 955 members hosted a public barbeque to talk to the public about their fight for better city services on June 1 at Shepard Boulevard Park and invited Columbia residents to come and hear from workers and their families about how workers and neighbors can join together to make a City government that is accountable to working people, not wealthy corporations.

Local 955 members presented their concerns to City Council on June 5 at the Council’s work session.

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