Selma Mayor Perkins: “There was never a strike”

Published 11:42 am Friday, October 14, 2022

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The City of Selma Public Works and Parks and Recreation Department employees both returned to work Wednesday, ending a three-week strike.

The two departments went on strike September 21 because of lack of payraise and issue with the Selma City Council.

Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. insists “it was not a strike.”

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“There was never a strike,” Perkins said. “Some people were saying that the laborers were not doing anything and that they should have been satisfied.  The few men we have were working really hard to keep up with the service demands and the public comments showed no appreciation for them.

“For 21 days they simply slowed down their work pace to minimum work for minimum pay.  Within 21 days everyone begin to complain about how trashy the city looked and sewage backing up.  They proved their point.”

The council  and Perkins each discussed raises for the Public Works.

In Perkins’ proposed budget, he requested to the city council that the City minimum wage be set at $12 per hour, and truck drivers and heavy-duty equipment operators at $16 per hour.

During budget negotiations, the council voted 6-2 to send a suggested budget to the Mayor that included a $2 increase to the lowest paid employees , bringing the city’s minimum wage to $11 an hour.

Perkins called the contract situation by the council, “interesting.”

“Also really interesting was how easily some Councilpersons were willing to issue contracts for thousands of dollars to spot clean certain areas but would not speak up for the employees to get a livable wage,” Perkins said. “I hope the people can see now what this is really all about.  We cannot praise and fairly pay public safety and treat our skilled and unskilled workers in public works, recreation, and cemetery like second class citizens. We all shop at the same places and have to pay the same prices.”