SEIU members from dozens of city departments filled the seats during the Metro Council’s Public Hearing on the city budget to make the case that public services and the people who provide them are vital to Nashville’s future.
“Having growth means nothing if regular folks can’t afford to raise a family and take part in the American Dream,” said union steward Tyrone Jolley. “Those are the priorities we need to keep focused on.”
Despite some controversy over the budget request for Nashville General Hospital, the Council voted overwhelmingly to pass the operating budget, pay plan, and other ordinances related to employees that Local 205 supported.
|2017-2018 Budget Highlights:
METRO GOVERMENT Employees
- 2% cost of living raise
- Maintain step raises (2% for those eligible)
- Shift differential increase (70¢/hr for evening shift, 80¢/hr for night shift)
- Fund open-range raises
- Three -year pay plan (2%, 3%, 3%).
- Longevity pay distributed earlier (Nov. 15)
- No cuts to department budgets, several new programs implemented
The Board of Health discusses a presentation from SEIU members about the Health Department’s work rules and pay plan.
At their March meeting, the Board of Health adopted a new pay structure that restores hundreds of Health Department employees into a stepped pay plan and removes them from “open range” classifications!
SEIU has made no secret of opposing open range structures in Metro and we included that in the Union’s presentation to the Board of Health. Many of the Health Department employees who will have their steps restored will also see pay increases under this new plan.
Despite claims to the contrary, research shows that open range/merit pay structures do not improve performance for public sector employees and often do serious damage to morale. In recent years in Metro Government, open range plans have not been well-funded and the processes the city uses to determine who gets what is vague and inconsistent. And in the private sector, open range/merit pay structures (which are used nearly universally in the U.S.) have frequently been used to play favorites or to discriminate against women and minorities.
A struggle against open range in Metro Government is going on as Nashville Public Library employees push back to stop an expansion of open range classifications in their department.
SEIU members rally to support employee rights and quality public services at the Metro Health Department in Nashville.
Workers from across the Metro Public Health Department came together to stop controversial changes to the department’s Civil Service Rules which would have weakened employees’ rights and impacted service to the public in Nashville.
When the Board announced that it was considering making changes to the Civil Service Rules, SEIU members formed a committee and members developed their own proposals which were submitted to Management. While some of these initial proposals were adopted, administrators then submitted a series of controversial changes which would have a major impact on Metro employees’ rights. Union members pushed back against management’s controversial proposals by turning out in large numbers to board meetings, including a public hearing. Union members had already submitted their own suggestions for rule changes and they then developed a Powerpoint presentation which SEIU proposed to the Board of Health at the public hearing. SEIU’s recommendations had a major impact on the Board’s deliberations and the union also presented the board with petitions signed by dozens of Health Department employees across all divisions and worksites.
“I am so proud that my co-workers were active throughout this entire process,” said Mia Jackson, a program specialist. “We met off the clock on our own time to go through the entire Civil Service rule book, we researched what the administration was proposing and we even submitted our own proposals.”
“I think what really swayed the Board of Health was the participation by employees and the huge turnout the Union organized for the board meetings,” said Thereasa Howse, a program supervisor. “I have worked for this department for over 20 years and I have never seen staff so engaged in what the department was up to. I truly believe that we were effective because of our strength in numbers and our attention to detail.”