City Council delays vote on collective bargaining for city workers

Talks on unionizing resume July 25th
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 4:43 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Despite cries from city workers from multiple departments, Tuesday, efforts to pass a revised ordinance on collective bargaining were delayed once again.

City leaders said they wanted more time to review the latest proposal and make changes to it if necessary before they vote. However, workers say the council has delayed talks on unionizing for months and they are tired of waiting for them to come up with a decision.

Ben Himmelfarb and Felicia Boney represent the collective of city workers attempting to negotiate with city leadership for higher pay, job stability, and the ability to unionize for better working conditions.

“Things need to change,” Boney said. “We know what the community needs we are the ones serving the community.”

“What collective bargaining would do is have a seat at the table with the administration and City Council to say this is what we need,” Himmelfarb said.

City workers say they aren’t the only ones in favor of unionizing. They say Mayor Stoney has expressed support for collective bargaining, but focused on a narrower scope of workers.

Richmond’s Chief Administrative Officer Lincoln Saunders says Stoney has met with patrons of the latest ordinance and says while progress is being made more time is needed to make amendments to the plan.

“I don’t believe that all the specifics are fully addressed within the paper, but it is a significant step forward,” Saunders said.

In the end, the council voted unanimously to delay talks on collective bargaining until July 25.

9th district Councilman Mike Jones expressed concern over how certain benefits to workers would be funded.

“Are we raising taxes to get there are we raising economic development to get there?” Jones asked.

However, 8th district Councilwoman Reva Trammel assured the workers present that a decision would be made soon.

“I just ask you to please bear with us a little bit more and trust us,” Trammell said. “We’re not hanging up on you all I’m not ignoring your cause.”

Boney says this isn’t the first time council has let talks on proposals for collective bargaining languish. She says they want action rather than assurances that the proposal will finally be voted on.

“We are back almost to square one,” Boney said. “We get it about deadlines, and money we understand that but they haven’t met a deadline yet.”

Until then they vow to keep fighting for Richmond’s public servants.

“We want something passed that’s strong, that gives us the rights we deserve, that gives us the rights the Virginia General assembly has already given us,” Himmelfarb said.

Before the council meets again to vote on the 25th, they say they plan to have a special work session meeting with workers between now and the 18th of July to discuss changes to the proposal.

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

Send it to 12 here.

Want NBC12’s top stories in your inbox each morning? Subscribe here.