Money New and improved benefits delight city workers By The New Political Posted on January 14, 2013 4 min read 0 0 422 The city of Athens is looking out for its own public sector workers with its most recent efforts to help union and non-union workers alike. With 172 workers in the city exactly 100 currently belong to unions. Organizations like the American Federation of State County Employees (AFSCME) and Municipal Employees work to assist city employees such as firefighters, the police, city service workers and the Code Office. The most recent AFSCME union contract was approved for the Athens Code Enforcement Staff and was put into effect on Oct. 7, and will end on Oct. 3 of 2015. This contract calls for two percent raises to employees during each of the next three years. At-Large Representative Christine Knisely praised those who helped bring about the new and improved benefits for city workers. “City Council is appreciative of the time and energy of those who negotiated the new contract, and are also appreciative of the work of the Code Enforcement office staff for whom this contract was finalized,” Knisely said. Christine Knisely of the City Council noted that because the city ended up with a surplus of funds compared with what was expected, now was the “perfect time” for the city to help the non-union workers. The council also worked to help the 72 non-union affiliated public employees who work for the city of Athens as well. Recently passed ordinances have looked to help these non-union employees work towards benefits and better pay. Through the ordinance changes, council changed the wording so as to allow pay ranges as opposed to step-increases, which call for a certain percent of increase in pay depending on years of work performed at a job. A pay raise of 3.5 percent was also in store for the non-union workers. Pay ranges, on the other hand, take several factors into account. “Salary range is the range of pay that has been established to be paid to employees performing a particular job or function. Salary range generally has a minimum pay rate, a maximum pay rate, and a series of mid-range opportunities for pay increases. The salary range is determined by market pay rates, established through market pay studies, for people doing similar work in similar industries in the same region of the country,” according to About.com. These pay ranges also acknowledge “level of education, knowledge, skill, and experience needed to perform each job.” The new year means better pay and better benefits for city employees. According to the City Council, these are well-deserved benefits at that.