City union workers rally for new contract

WICHITA, Kansas – A union representing nearly 1,000 city employees in several departments including public works, water utility, neighborhood inspection and city hall security has been in negotiations with the city over its next two year contract for most of the year. Union leaders say they latest offer was far from adequate.

The Service Employees International Union Local 513 union is pushing for longevity pay and “steps”– a yearly increase for workers who perform their job well.

The city froze step increases in 2011 and 2012 but added a 2.5 percent boost the last two years.

Union leaders say times are changing as the city begins to recover from years of economic downturn.

“We’re spending money in a lot of different areas, but we need to make sure and take care of the necessities that we have, and those necessities are to make sure that these workers are paid a fair wage and that they can come to work every day and know that they’re making enough money to support their families while they do the work of the citizens,” said Local 513 Business Representative Esau Freeman.

KSN reached out to the city leaders for a response. The city attorney told us via e-mail quote:

“This matter involves ongoing union negotiations, and it would not be appropriate to communicate through the media. The city is committed to ongoing negotiations in good faith at the table.”

The current contract expires December 18th.

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