St. Louis Public Radio News
5:21 am
Wed August 20, 2008

City unions to sue Civil Service Commission

St. Louis – A group of unions representing St. Louis City workers will sue the Civil Service Commission over a stalled contract.

The unions say it's their last option. They do not have the right to strike.

Union leaders and the city's personnel director negotiated a contract that gave employees a pay raise of sixteen and a half percent. But the Civil Service Commission has yet to approve the contract - saying the city cannot afford it.

The unions say that breaks a city law requiring the Commission to send a negotiated contract to the Board of Aldermen.

Charles Bobinette is a lawyer for the unions.

"As long as it's stalled, or delayed, or tinkered with by the Civil Service Commission, none of these employees, none of the civil service employees, will be receiving raises," he says.

Bobinette says the uncompetitive contract currently in place makes it harder for the city to recruit workers, and demoralizes the union members, who see County employees making more money.

A spokesman for Mayor Francis Slay says the mayor supports giving the unions a two and a half percent increase and a $300 bonus while negotiations continue.