Amy Saltzman [email protected] @cambridgechron
Members of Teamsters Local 25, the union that represents more than 300 city employees, protested outside City Hall today, demanding a five-percent annual salary increase over three years as part of their contract negotiations with the city of Cambridge.
In late June, the union�s negotiation team reached a tentative agreement with the city, but members later rejected the agreement, calling it �substandard.�
�We�re not asking for the world; we�re just asking for what we deserve: a fair pay,� said Dave Harmon, a 911 dispatcher for the last 12 years. �We come in in the snow, during weather emergencies, hurricanes. My thing is, I have to buy a new car, four-wheel drive; they�re compensating everybody else, why aren�t they going to compensate us? We�ve been asking for years.�
Spanning over more than a half-dozen departments in the city, the workers protesting are the ones picking up the city�s trash, repairing its sidewalks, cleaning its streets. They�re employees of the public works, water, electrical, traffic, clerical, parks and cemeteries and building maintenance.
�They didn�t give us a good contract. � I feel they can pay us a little bit more. We�re not asking for much of anything else,� said Jean Bracken, an employee of the DPW for 14 years.
There are other aspects to the contract that employees don�t like: sick day doctors� notes and random drug testing that includes marijuana.
�The city tried sneaking in the day before the contract that if you call out sick one day, you are required to bring a doctor�s note to work,� said Jim Maybury, 911 dispatcher for the last 12 years. �Public Works and Traffic are big on drug testing. In the state of Massachusetts, marijuana is now legal. � We�ve lost a couple employees for testing positive for marijuana,