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LiUNA 955 addresses utility worker pay outside Columbia City Hall


LiUNA Local 955 held press conference on Monday outside of Columbia City Hall to address working conditions and pay for utility workers.

The union in a press release before the conference took place claimed some trash collectors are expected to use personal cellphones for work because the new fleet of garbage trucks don’t include radios. The city began its new automated trash service, which uses roll carts, earlier this year.

Public comments were also held during the meeting.

At the end of Monday night's City Council meeting, human resources director Kathy Baker stated the city received a complaint about employees being contacted by their supervisor using cellphones. After a complaint was received, the utilities director proposed a policy to address those concerns, claiming that radios are the primary communication method but the solid waste employees can opt in to using their personal cell phones, Baker said.

The group also claimed that water distribution workers also claim some trainees hired were making more money than the people training them.

LiUNA member Silas Garrett told ABC 17 News that was the case for him.

"I was I, as a part-time employee who has less experience, I was making more than full-time employees who I was learning from under.  So, I honestly don't think it's fair," Garrett said.

Baker said the union filed a complaint before describing some recent history. According to Baker, in Fiscal Year 2020, the city started officering the trainee program because they were struggling to find equipment operators and trash collectors. Pay started at $14.50 but after a study was conducted, the city decided to pay more at $20 per hour, then once they got their CDL license, the pay would go up to $22 per hour. After the complaint was filed, the city decided trainees could not get that pay increase to $22 per hour until they were moved into a permanent position.

The union is calling for arbitration with the city. Deputy City Manager Matt Unrein told ABC 17 News that the city has tried to compensate its employees fairly.

LiUNA Local 955 is a union in Mid-Missouri that represents workers at the City of Centralia, City of Columbia, Boone County Road & Bridge, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Missouri-Kansas City, MU Health Care, Truman State University, City of Kirksville & MFA Feed Mills in Mexico and Kirksville, and Wildcat Materials.

The union has previously protested outside of Columbia City Hall at different events.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Nia Hinson


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