Tacoma City Council members voiced approval for giving pay raises to the city’s nonunion workforce for the first time in five years. A final decision could happen next week.
Tuesday night’s discussion was starkly different from one last May, when the City Council turned down raises ranging from 5 percent to 20 percent for workers at Tacoma Public Utilities.
More modest by comparison, this proposal would make 837 nonunion city and utility employees eligible for raises of up to 3 percent. The size of an employee’s raise would depend on whether his or her current pay is judged “below market” and how far below.
Most would also receive a one-time, lump-sum payment equal to 1 percent of their salary.
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“Last year when the topic came before us, I couldn’t support it because it was singling out one group of employees,” said Councilman Ryan Mello. “I think management listened to the concerns of the council and brought back a more modest proposal, and was also mindful of council concerns of it not being fair to all employees.”
Councilman David Boe pointed out that managers in the city took a 5 percent pay cut for a year during the five-year period.
For bosses who face “compression issues” — when a top manager receives less pay than his or her subordinates — the city would give a flat 4 percent wage increase. Those employees would not receive the one-time bonuses.
If the council approves the change Tuesday, pay raises would go into effect on Feb. 17. The wage increase and bonuses would cost the city $2.6 million through the rest of the year. Of that amount, TPU would pay $1.5 million to its employees, with the city paying the remaining $1.1 million.
Kate Martin: 253-597-8542