Local 117 members at the City of Kent pack Council chambers on Tuesday to demand a fair contract.

Teamsters at the City of Kent are fed up and speaking out. In bargaining, the City promised to restore some of the sacrifices that employees made during the recession starting back in 2008. Now, the City is backing off its prior commitments.

Employees took furlough days and endured a five-year wage freeze when times were tough, and City officials had given them their word. Once the City is back on secure financial footing, we’ll make it up to you, they said.

But the City’s proposals this contract cycle tell a different story. The City is insisting on higher out-of-pocket health care costs for City employees, and they’ve made little effort to rectify the sacrifices their employees made in the past. 

The City is in decent shape financially. Fund balances are high, and reserves are above strategic goals. New positions are being created. Salary surveys and reclassifications are underway for non-represented employees.

City employees save taxpayers millions by keeping expensive road maintenance work local and preventing expensive outsourcing. But the City refuses to give a fair portion of that savings to employees who provide essential services to the residents of the community.

On Tuesday evening, Local 117 members packed the City Council chambers to send a message to the Council that the City needs to honor its commitments.

Dozens of members signed a petition to the Council calling for “fair and equitable wages and benefits.” The group has plans to get their message out to the public if the City does not hold true to its promises.