DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Durham sanitation workers and other city employees packed Thursday afternoon’s City Council work session in an effort to secure bonus pay.
Last week, City Manager Wanda Page proposed a counteroffer, but those solid waste employees believe it’s still not good enough.
For weeks, sanitation workers have pushed for an immediate $5,000 bonus. And some community members showed up in support of the idea at Thursday’s meeting.
“The bonuses should be given to those making $40,000 to $75,000, who showed up to do their jobs in person even through the pandemic, who are working multiple jobs,” Durham resident, Casey Roe said.
Even members of law enforcement advocated for their departments, as well as those solid waste employees.
“I want the best police officers to serve you,” Durham police recruiter, Nick Parkstone said. “I can’t do that with $43,500 to sell, when Greensboro offers $60,000.”
All this comes after the city manager proposed a bonus structure on Friday for all city employees. It included a $3,000 bonus for people with salaries less than $57,000 annually, $2,500 for employees who make between $57,000-$90,000, and $2,000 for employees who make more than $90,000 annually.
But on Thursday, members of the Council chose not to vote on the proposal. Instead, city staff were directed to come back in two weeks with different distribution options. Some Council members still want to grant the $5,000 bonus that’s being requested by the solid waste workers.
Page said the bonuses won’t use more than nearly $6.5 million of Durham’s fund balance.
“The city manager gave her proposal for $3,000, slap in the face,” sanitation worker, Herman Moore said. “It’s not to say that we don’t want it, but we deserve the $5,000 that we asked for and we’re here to get it.”
The group of sanitation workers asked the city to take money out of the reserve, which Moore said has a surplus.
“Just because we’re garbage collectors, us men and women, doesn’t make us any less than anybody else in this room,” he said.
Dozens of solid waste workers went on strike for four business days this month, but it ended last week.
“This is the fourth most dangerous job in the country,” sanitation worker, Chris Benjamin said. “We put our lives out there every day.”
Even though they’re back to work, the city employees are still fighting for the bonus.
“We deserve it. Us, the firemen, the policemen, all of these city workers,” said Moore.