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Agenda Item

1. 211758 Communication from employees of Milwaukee Water Works relating to wages.

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    Michael Michalak 5 months ago

    I was hired as a level 2 by my manager. I was also told that after having worked for 1 year, that I would be reviewed and could advance to the level 3 or 4 pay rate for the position as Automation Technician. Currently, we have no advancement opportunities. How my position is currently structured, by default has created a dead end, with no opportunity to advance at the city. Unless I apply for a different position, I cannot advance anywhere within my department. During my annual review, I was promoted on paper by my manager, but never given a pay increase (in 2019) to what would have been advancement to a Level 3 Automation Technician. There has been no response, clarity, or indication of an actual pay increase from anyone, since 2018. My pay is well below the average in the State of Wisconsin. I can find work that pays significantly more. We have an issue with inflation of 7.5% and climbing on top of this issue. I am hoping that a decision to evaluate the pay can happen soon. David Kaminski had put in a request to have a job study and pay evaluation completed for the Automation Department last year. I would like to know where this request is or if has even been discussed?

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    Gavin Kuck 5 months ago

    Since the Career Ladders are no longer an option, what is the plan going forward for us? We would all like some honesty and transparency with the pay and how adjustments or progression(or whatever the popular word of the day is)are made. Additionally the City needs to start telling us the rules and explaining them in detail, giving us updates when they happen and stop hiring people under false pretenses. If this doesn't happen expect the turnover to continue to increase as the skill and knowledgeable people to keep leaving in increasing number. You can't expect someone(who has another option) to stay with an indefinite pay freeze, nobody giving us straight answers about anything, and an entire staff of people working to make sure nobody has a chance to "progress". I am making less than I made when I started if you account for the Cumulative rate of inflation which is 13%. At the same time we hire others out to do our jobs for 2x or more the cost, and keep paying the "city rate" for our equipment, materials and parts( way more than any private business would pay). The city needs to have a Cost of Living adjustment every year, and a path to progress vis performance/knowledge

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    Gavin Kuck 5 months ago

    I work in Plant Automation, I started in Feb of 2018. I was told in my interview that there was no reason I wouldn't be able to max out my pay range in a year or two. I just need used my Matrix to move up the Career Ladder. I was reviewed only in 2019 and not able advance. All inquiries have been dismissed or never answered clearly. Career Ladders were recently(Dec-2021)removed entirely from the salary ordinance, my guess is this was in response to my questioning. If you read the wording in the salary ordinances, with the exception of the second half of 2019 there was never a real "pay freeze" since before I was hired. A request for a pay study was sent in for the Automation group back in last Mar-21 I think. We were told we are the highest priority in the Water Department(top of the "list"), then one of the highest, now most recently "DER is aware of the need for a Classification report/Market study for the Automation group. Unfortunately, DER has received numerous other requests for reports/studies from DPW and other City departments. Re-titling or creating a title series has been discussed as well but would need to be evaluated utility-wide and is also a multi-year process."

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    Daniel Hobbs 5 months ago

    We are all frustrated at the Plants, everyone is unhappy with the pay freeze that was put in place since the end of 2018(without anyone but DER knowing). Management is not helpful, they are not willing to go to bat for us. Everyone just keeps passing the buck. Management claims they have to follow the rules, Der claims they have to follow the will of the Council, the Council seems to just pass whatever the DER presents them, but doesn't always understand what they are passing. According to the DER the written word is trumped by the intent, but nobody can tell us where the intent is detailed. Can someone please be honest with us? Stop hiring people without telling them they will never get a raise without an act of god. People are still hired under the impression they will get a review and a raise, not happening since 2018. Career Ladders were good but you broke them and then took them away, what is the plan going forward? DER needs some oversight, and the non-management employees need some say in what happens. We shouldn't have to wait for months or even years to find anything out. There should be a rule that requires inquiries to be answered in a limited time.