City workers, police union against aldermanic pay raises

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 7:47 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - City workers and a local labor union are against a passed bill that would double salaries for St. Louis aldermen.

Board Bill 119 was passed last Friday and is now pending a signature from Mayor Tishaura Jones. It would raise pay from about $36,000 per year to $72,000 while requiring aldermen to work an average of 32 hours per week. The changes would be effective in April when the board shrinks from 28 members to 14.

One rank-and-file city employee tells News 4 the raises aren’t deserved when other city workers only received 3 percent raises in 2022.

“Our salaries are not enough to survive off of. It’s really hard,” they said. “To receive a 1 percent or 3 percent increase and the aldermen can double their salaries, it’s not fair to us.”

The St. Louis Labor Council represents many municipal workers in the city. President Pat White says he understands both sides and agrees with the board shrinking in size. He praised the city raises negotiated last year.

“I’m sure seeing them get double is probably pretty hard to swallow for a lot of folks,” White said. “I guess it remains to be seen if it is worth it or not because they are all saying they are going to have double the workload... We are in belief that if you are doing more work, you deserve more money.”

The St. Louis Police Officers Association has been a vocal opponent of the law, arguing that officers are underpaid and understaffed. Business manager Joe Steiger says the board may deserve a raise, but that other employees should also be included in the discussion.

“Police officers know firsthand what it means to work more, and their salaries have not been doubled,” Steiger said.

Mayor Jones signaled support for the bill Tuesday morning but stopped short of a full endorsement.

“We need to pay our elected officials what they are worth,” Jones said. “These are hard jobs, and they will be full-time aldermen.”

The mayor ended the press conference while being pressed by reporters asking about pay for police officers and other city officials. A spokesperson says the mayor is reviewing the legislation and said they cannot comment further because of ongoing union negotiations.

“I’m not going to answer that,” Jones said.