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Council approves $15-an-hour minimum for municipal workers

Mid-Missouri’s largest city, Columbia, on Monday became the latest city nationwide to guarantee its employees at least $15 an hour.

Mid-Missouri’s largest city on Monday became the latest city nationwide to guarantee its employees at least $15 an hour.

The 2019 budget approved Monday evening cat more than a month of budget negotiations, much of them centering around city employee pay. Employees balked at the original plan to give them a raise of 25 cents an hour.

Eric Scott, the representative of the union that negotiates on behalf of most city workers, said the new, higher minimum-wage would make it easier for the city to recruit and retain employees.

In addition to the new minimum wage, garbage collectors will get a raise of two dollars an hour. Additionally, certain employees will be eligible for a 45 cent-per-hour raise based on how their pay compares to the cities revised pay rate maximums.

Monday night’s vote meant Columbia joined a growing list of cities to guarantee their workers at least $15 an hour. Memphis raised its municipal worker pay to that level at the end of May. The North Carolina cities of Greensboro and Winston – Salem followed in late June.

In addition to the changes in city worker pay, the city budget includes funding for an 11th fire station, to be located on the south side of town. Council members voted down a proposal to raise paratransit rates by a dollar, to $3 a ride.

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