Unionizing Shreveport - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Unionizing Shreveport

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It's been more than 5 years since the city council gave the green light to Shreveport city employees unionizing and 2 and a half years since a city employees union was formed. Now the union that represents the people who fill our potholes and collect our trash is close to finalizing a labor contract so we wanted to take a look at how this affects the city. 

The group that represents workers other than police and fire employees was approved a little over 2 years ago but the union and the city are still working on a collective bargaining agreement or labor contract. A few issues to be hashed out by city officials and city workers are things like working conditions, the equipment they use and pay.

City council member Sam Jenkins says he welcomes collaboration with city employees on how to improve how they service taxpayers. Jenkins said, "All of those are issues we take up on an annual basis and try to come up with some good solutions so it doesn't become an adversarial type of thing. This is something new on the local scene for Shreveport, I believe a great effort has taken place already for the workers to come together and bring their concerns to the city in a collective manner."

Union president Cordell Allen says city workers have tough jobs in parks and recreation, streets and drainage and sanitation... But somebody's got to do it and they deserve respect. "We're not here to overthrow city government, we're not here to take over city administration. What we're here to do is form a partnership where we can help the city and that way, we can help ourselves."
Allen says that's why the local union 13-25 is here to make sure the city understands and appreciates the jobs they do everyday. "Be assured that The efforts of work and being out in the field were not going unnoticed and oftentimes we found that the city employees are not appreciated." More than 2 years later... Still with no labor contract finalized... We asked Allen if things have gotten better. "It has changed quite a bit. Before city employees didn't have an avenue where they could express their complaints. The employees now have a voice, they now have representation. It helps boost their morale. We cannot have our employees out there in meager vehicles and halfway put together vehicles and it's falling apart and it's a safety hazard to some and we can't have them out there working like that."

Jenkins offered, "We need the input from both sides to make sure we are doing the best we can to improve conditions, everyone has the equipment they need to do the job, and at the end of the day, we want to make sure we're giving the best service that we can to our citizens."

The labor contract will outline what working conditions, wages and benefits should be for city employees and align the union employees needs with the city's budget. City officials say they are still negotiating on the labor contract and it should come before city council for approval in coming weeks.


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