Pay Just Part of Cities’ Solutions to Recruitment and Retention Challenges

Source: Ed Lamb HR News, Vol. 81 no. 7, July 2015
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….Though their timelines shift and the exact details vary, Las Vegas and Wausau have also labored under tight labor budgets, shrinking workforces and diminishing institutional memory for the better part of the past decade. Those two cities also had to navigate potentially contentious negotiations with public employee unions. In Wisconsin, Proposition 10 eliminated most collective bargaining rights for state and local employee who are not firefighters, law enforcement officials and other public safety workers. Las Vegas city workers are represented by a mix of six unions, plus those for fire crews and police. ….Recounting his experiences in Las Vegas, Tarwater said that union representatives recognized early that keeping jobs was a much more achievable goal than negotiating raises and enhanced benefits. Therefore, unions largely agreed to suspend collective bargaining in exchange for assurances that maximal efforts would be made to avoid layoffs and to rework contracts when the economy improved…. Significant aspects of the new union contracts Las Vegas has adopted include moving toward merit-based pay increases, cash bonuses awarded for exemplary performance in lieu of guaranteed annual raises and cost-of-living adjustments linked explicitly to the federal Consumer Price Index….