Thousands of D.C. government workers to get raises, bonuses

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D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) on Monday signed a bill authorizing pay raises and bonuses for about 8,000 nonunion city employees.

The legislation, which the D.C. Council passed unanimously this month, includes a retroactive cost-of-living increase of 1.5 percent and a 3.5 percent bonus for fiscal 2022, as well as a cost-of-living increase of 2.5 percent scheduled to kick in Oct. 9.

The raises for nonunion employees come several months after the city signed on to a four-year collective-bargaining agreement with nearly 10,000 government employees who are represented by various local unions and labor organizations. That agreement, reached in March, has similar percentage cost-of-living increases and includes annual raises and a financial assistance fund for employees to purchase homes in the District.

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“Like the agreement we signed in March, these pay increases represent our gratitude to the thousands of public servants who serve our community with dedication and keep D.C. moving forward,” Bowser said in a news release.

The bill signing came jointly with the announcement of a summer virtual hiring event seeking candidates to fill “nearly 1,000 vacancies.”

E. Lindsey Maxwell II, interim director of D.C.’s human resources department, said it’s not unusual for the city to have this many open positions at one time, citing the recent completion of budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. “It’s more of looking at an increase in what we need to get done,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell expects the city to hire for myriad roles across sectors, including bank examiners, security guards and information technology workers. Maxwell said the city has not felt the effects of labor shortages seen in other industries.

“We haven’t noticed any decline,” he said about the city’s job retention. “Our job market has remained strong.”

David Connerty-Marin, a spokesman for D.C. Council member Elissa Silverman (I-At Large), who chairs the council’s committee on labor and workforce development, said in an email that there was little deliberation about the extent of raises for nonunion employees since “they are generally modeled after the union-won raises to ensure parity across [the] District workforce.” City officials echoed Connerty-Marin, saying that increases for nonunion workers are intertwined with union-covered-employee raises.

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There was one amendment to the act by Silverman to ensure that nonunion employees of the University of the District of Columbia would receive the full cost-of-living adjustment.

UDC employees affected under this act are paid semimonthly, while D.C. government employees are paid biweekly — resulting in two fewer paychecks per year for university employees. The cost-of-living increase as originally written would have gone into effect midway through the pay period for UDC employees since the adjustment was conceived with the biweekly pay schedule in mind.

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