City Councilors Cut Pay To Injured Workers

Thursday, April 3rd 2008, 10:50 pm
By: News On 6

Some Tulsa City Councilors say injured workers are getting paid more to stay at home than to come to work.  The council split down party lines to slash injured workers' pay by 30%. The News On 6's Ashli Sims reports now the city workers' union is vowing to fight the change.

The city council narrowly approved the changes in a five to four vote. The biggest shift is the change in injured workers' pay.

When a city worker is hurt on the job right now, they get 100% of their salary.  State law only requires they receive 70%.  The city council voted to bring the pay down to that level, cutting the benefit by 30%. 

They also passed a measure to try to get injured employees back to work sooner.  They're trying to encourage hurt workers to return on light duty or in different assignments, rather than stay home.

The union that represents city workers was not happy with the proposal.  They're vowing to file a grievance against the city, claiming they were not given 30 days notice about the possible change as required by their contract.

City Councilor Cason Carter, who raised this issue, claims this as much about safety as savings.  The union says this is really about money and it's a slap in the face to city workers.

"This injury leave is basically a thank you for hurting your job, hurting your body for us. To take that away, that's sad," said union president Mark Stodghill.

Stodghill says many city workers are underpaid and the injury leave attracts people to jobs which can be dangerous.

Supporters of the change say this will not affect current contracts.  And, police and firefighters are not affected.

The 70% benefit is the standard in the private sector.  And, many of the councilors who voted for the changes are the ones who have their own businesses.