Waste Management workers air grievances about pay at Urban County Council meeting

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council convened Thurdsay night to discuss a wide variety of topics. But, a couple of ordinances on the docket caught the ire of city workers in attendance.

“It’s every time, the same, the same… it’s over, thanks for nothing,” said Javier Perez, a worker with the city’s Waste Management division.

Perez was one of several sanitation workers who took to the podium Thursday night to discuss their disappointment with the council.

“We’ve been here day in and day out, week in and week out, telling you what we want,” said Dion Henry, the Waste Management Union President.

Their frustration comes on two fronts. They said they are getting a lower pay raise than their division expected.

“Y’all just granted us 3%,” Henry said. “My whole division was expecting 6%… and y’all just slapped us in the face with a 3% increase. But you want us to get up in the morning at three o’clock and pick up all y’all’s garbage.”

The city plans to offer all city employees a 3% raise starting next July and an additional 3% raise the following January.

Waste Management workers also said they aren’t satisfied with the amount of “hero pay” they are set to receive, either.

“What we have proposed and what we passed tonight was that the people who qualify under the ARPA guidelines would receive $5000, and the rest of our employees who have more or less qualified in other ways, but don’t qualify for ARPA money, that they would get $3500,” said Vice Mayor Steve Kay.

Kay said he’s happy with the outcome of the “hero pay” ordinance and added that the pay raise is “generous”.

“I think the way that this administration put this forward says to all of our employees, ‘we appreciate the fact that you worked during this pandemic,’” Kay said.

Ordinances to appropriate $10 million in ARPA funding for affordable housing and $1 million to the city’s hospitality industry, among other allocations, also passed first reading Thursday night.

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