Easthampton boosts pay plan increases for non-union employees 

  • Easthampton Municipal Building GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 3/4/2022 10:55:59 AM
Modified: 3/4/2022 10:55:34 AM

EASTHAMPTON — The city is taking steps to address retainment of its workers and a wage increase deficit for its 75 non-union municipal employees. 

Starting July 1, non-municipal employees will receive a 3% increase per step as part of the city’s 12-step pay scale plan. The City Council unanimously approved a motion Wednesday to amend city ordinances. 

“It’s definitely a band-aid to inequity, but at this point, I feel like we have to do that while we work on the bigger system,” said Mayor Nicole LaChapelle. 

The city adopted a 12-step pay scale plan that included a 2% increase per step as recommended by a report produced by the Collins Center for Public Management at the University of Massachusetts Boston. The Collins Center was commissioned to perform a $30,000 review of the city’s employment practices in 2018. 

While the Collins Center report was thorough, LaChapelle said there was one issue that arose: the fact that those non-union employees hadn’t seen an increase in pay for a number of years during the former mayoral administration. 

“We are in a deep, not only inflationary deficit, but wage increase deficit over the last 20 years for our employees that are not a member of the union,” LaChapelle said. “We were keeping up with the pay plan as the Collins report put it out, however, with inflation, we’re losing ground again and we need to fill in as much of that gap as possible.” 

She also noted that as At-Large Councilor Koni Denham had pointed out at a previous meeting, the people who hold the majority of these non-union positions are women. 

“The pay gap across all industries, across all employment is steep,” she said. 

City Councilor Dan Rist, who also serves as chairman of the Finance Committee, told members of the council that the Finance Committee looked into extending the pay scale to 15 or 20 steps at the current 2% increase per step, but felt that Mayor Nicole LaChapelle’s proposal to increase to 3% per step was a good first step forward.  

“It is important to note that this increase, when we vote on it tonight, the increase of 3% per step, will increase next year’s fiscal budget, which starts on July 1, by $80,000,” he said. “... All pay plan employees will catch up to that 3% on July 1.”

Emily Thurlow can be reached at ethurlow@gazettenet.com.

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