Greensboro City Workers Union members plan to speak at the March 1 City Council meeting against the way the step pay plan for city employees is being implemented.

The 2021-2022 City of Greensboro budget includes the first phase of transitioning city employees from a merit based system of pay increases to a step pay plan.

Under the merit system the amount of a raise is determined by the employee’s supervisor based on the employee’s evaluation within parameters set by the City Council.

Under the step plan all employees on the same step receive the same salary and receive the same raise regardless of the employee’s evaluation.

The City Council passed a motion to begin the transition to the step plan by a 5-4 vote, over the strong recommendation from city staff against it and despite the fact that 56 percent of the city employees who responded to a survey stated a preference for the merit system and only 22 percent were in favor of the step pay plan. 

City Councilmember Tammi Thurm was the swing vote on this issue and, after speaking against the step pay plan, agreed to vote for it if with the caveat that the city could go back to the merit system in the next fiscal year.

The City Workers Union has stated its opposition to the step pay plan because the steps for employees were determined by their current salaries and not based solely on seniority.

Human Resources Director Jamiah Waterman estimated that the transition to the step pay plan for about 1,100 employees would cost the city about $100,000.  The cost is due to the fact that the salaries had to be raised to get all employees on the same step at the same salary.  No employee’s salary was reduced, so some employees received considerable salary increases.

In a press release, President of the Greensboro City Workers Union Ramone Johnson said, “The senior workers that carry the city and train all the new employees feel very disrespected by this current version of the Step Pay Plan.  The Step Plan is an important advance towards more fairness, but without recognizing our years of service, there is no justice.”