City garbage collectors may haul in pay increase

YOUNGSTOWN — A proposed contract with the city’s garbage truck drivers union would see the starting pay rate increase by 21.8 percent while those who currently work there would get even bigger raises.

City council will consider Wednesday approving the three-year contract, which is retroactive to Jan. 1 with the nine-member union.

The starting salary for union members would go from $15.65 an hour to $20 per hour effective with the ratification of the contract.

The new contract includes a new step after six months on the job to $20.50 per hour.

After one year of employment, the salary of the garbage truck drivers union would go from $15.80 per hour to $21 — a 24.8 percent increase under the contract proposal.

Also, after two years on the job, the hourly rate increases 34 percent: from $16.05 to $21.50.

Those getting the designation of “lead driver” would receive an additional $1 per hour.

City Finance Director Kyle Miasek said part of the reason for the large raises “is the competitive nature of the job. They can easily find jobs elsewhere. We don’t want to lose them. We needed to come to amounts to be competitive and keep them. Between the change in the workforce and wages in the area being competitive, we are paying them more. It’s hard work, and they do a really good job.”

The city has increased greatly starting wages for other unions recently as it struggles to attract and retain workers.

The starting salaries for firefighters increased in January 2022 by 46 percent and by 27.4 percent for police officers in the same month. The starting salary for street department workers was raised by 14.8 percent at the beginning of this year.

The garbage truck drivers union has been working without a contract since Dec. 31. This contract is good until Dec. 31, 2025.

The workers will get a 2.5 percent increase starting January 2024 and then a 2.25 percent increase in January 2025.

The salary increases are in line with what other city employee unions are receiving for 2024 and 2025.

In addition to pay raises, each garbage truck drivers union member will get $300 quarterly bonuses for having a commercial driver’s license and a good safety / accident record. The determination of the good safety / accident record is at the sole discretion of management.

Workers also will get $805 in “exposure pay” each year.

The contract calls for employees to get payments of $400 per quarter if they don’t use sick time during those three-month periods. The previous bonus was $125 per quarter.

Like all other city workers union and nonunion, the garbage truck drivers will continue to pay 10 percent toward heir health insurance coverage with the city paying 90 percent of the cost.


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