Union workers waiting for merit pay from city of Springfield

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Tensions are high between a group of Springfield City Councilors and the Mayor’s office over merit pay.

City employees are getting a bonus for their work during the pandemic, but not everyone has got their check yet. Non-union workers have already received up to $5,000 in merit pay.

However, some frontline workers, like the firefighters apart of the Local 648, have not received the bonus pay yet. Dozens of firefighters stood on the steps of City Hall Tuesday, questioning where their merit pay is.

“It seems like there was no rhyme or reason as to how they distributed the money. There were a number of people that didn’t interact with the public but yet they were paid. There were a number of people who worked from home, yet they were paid. I’m most concerned about the individuals that kept the services running,” said Springfield City Councilor Justin Hurst.

Mayor Sarno told 22News, the process isn’t that simple, “Through the collective bargaining laws and statutes, you have to technically negotiate this.”

22News spoke with Chad Jacobs, President of the Local 648 firefighter union and he said this shouldn’t have anything to do with negotiations, “This is not a contractual issue. Based on the Mayor’s guidelines for merit pay, there’s no equity.”

The funding for the merit pay comes from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Another local union did come to an agreement regarding the merit bonus earlier Tuesday, members of that union are involved in driving commercial vehicles and ground work for the city.

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