Unions negotiate mid-year raise with city

Effective Oct. 10, Keizer city employees will receive a 1.5% pay increase. This, combined with a leave cash-out option for up to 80 hours per employee, is expected to cost the city an additional $132,000, paid out in the remainder of the fiscal year.

In August, the two employee unions representing city employees, the Keizer Police Association (KPA) and the City and Laborer’s International Union, struck a collective bargaining agreement with the City of Keizer for a mid-year wage increase and leave cash out option in which employees can trade in their time off for cash.. The agreement also includes non-represented city employees.

The issue came up in July, when representatives of the police union approached city officials with a request for allocation of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds toward retention of qualified police officers.  This was prompted by high inflation costs and actions taken by other local police forces, including wage increases.

City staff investigated the issue and although they determined KPD didn’t have a retention problem and opted not to pay the one-time bonus requested by the KPA, they decided instead to recommend a wage increase for all city employees combined with a leave cash-out option.

Keizer’s Human Resources Director Machell DePina said the $132,000 is the projected additional cost based on estimates.

“The maximum cost of the agreement could be as much as $395,000, but that’s only if every single city employee had 80 hours of leave and they cashed them out all at once, and that’s not going to happen,” she said.

DePina said the cost of the wage increase is within the city’s budget and will be covered by existing capital and the cost of the leave cash-out will be covered by ARPA funds.