San Antonio:
Seasonal workers may lose on wages

Express-News: Metro and State
Seasonal workers may lose on wages
By William Pack
San Antonio Express-News

Web Posted : 09/07/2001

The "living wage" salary benefits promised last year to all city employees may not be extended to seasonal youth employees, but all temporary employees should earn that base salary in 2002, City Manager Terry Brechtel said Thursday.

Brechtel commented on her budget plans after questions were raised about salaries for temporary employees, who fill in when permanent employees are out or when seasonal demand requires extra employees in areas such as park maintenance and garbage collection.

Representatives of the Service Employees International Union Local 100 have said that some temporary employees have been working for years without earning the pay regular workers make.

A union study concluded that 2,541 temporary employees were earning $2 an hour less than the $8.25-an-hour "living wage" promised employees this year.

However, a city study concluded that about 1,000 fewer temporary employees were on the city's payroll as of June 1 than the union claimed.

Most of the temporary employees earned more than $8.25 an hour, some up to $30 an hour, and only 534 made less than $8.25 an hour, city officials said.

Union officials met with Brechtel and other staffers Wednesday on the pay issue but came away unconvinced that a living wage was planned for beginning temporary employees.

But Brechtel said staff members are developing a proposal to pay all temporary employees a living wage.

That level, which grows out of federal studies on the wages needed to keep a family of four out of poverty, would increase to $8.50 an hour in 2002.

The city manager said the only category of workers who might not qualify for a living wage in 2002 would be summer interns and other seasonal youth employees who would not qualify as primary breadwinners for families.

City officials said that category consists of 100-200 employees.

No final decision has been reached on the pay they should receive.

The proposed budget includes $9.4 million in raises for non-uniformed city employees.

The salaries will be part of the 2002 fiscal year budget, which will be voted on by the council Sept. 20 and go into effect Oct. 1.