Wage increase may not be enough to keep Columbia line workers
COLUMBIA - Columbia Water and Light line workers are getting raises after the Columbia City Council voted to raise wages Monday night.
Columbia Water and Light line workers have consistently made less than their counterparts who work for other local companies. After the new raises, they will still make less than workers at Boone Electric Cooperative, according to an area line worker.
Each journeyman lineworker will see their salary increase to about $34 per hour. Line foreman and superintendents will also see their salary increase to about $38 per hour. Boone Electric Cooperative pays about $10 more each hour for the same job, according to workers at Monday night's meeting.
At the meeting, line workers and supporters of increased wages also pointed out that workers are making the switch to other companies that pay more for the same work.
But local leaders hope the raise keeps workers with the city.
"I hope [the raise] deters workers, gives them pause, when jumping ship," Water and Light Board member Jay Hasheider said. "I hope they see that there's a brighter future ahead."
This is not the last time the Columbia City Council will visit this ongoing issue. Mayor Brian Treece and City Manager John Glascock expressed their concerns at last night’s meeting.
“In my opinion, it's a first step. It's not a fix by any stretch. I hope it keeps us from losing qualified personnel,” said Glascock.
Mayor Brian Treece said, “I'm frustrated that after 5 years of warning signs, we're getting a half-hearted solution."