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Mayor Harrell Announces New Tentative Agreements with City Employees on Labor Contracts to Strengthen City Services, Raise Wages 

Centered on wage equity for the City’s lowest paid workers, proposed contract would ensure a living wage for all City employees through 290 title adjustments following a marketplace assessment to ensure competitive salaries. 

Seattle – Today, Mayor Bruce Harrell and the Coalition of City Unions announced that they have reached a tentative agreement on labor contracts impacting more than 7,000 City workers represented by 16 unions.  

“In all our talks, our focus has been on strengthening City services, improving recruitment and retention, and raising wages for the City’s lowest paid workers so they can remain supported in their work, and I’m extremely pleased that this contract accomplishes that,” said Mayor Harrell. “As the son of two City employees, I know that one of our greatest assets for serving Seattle residents is our dedicated public employees, and we remain committed to investing in this critical workforce so they can continue to deliver the high-quality services that our communities expect and demand. I am grateful for the partnership of our labor organizations throughout this process, and I am thankful for the hard work of our City employees who are helping us build One Seattle each and every day.” 

The contracts focus on four key points: 

  • Strengthening City Services: The contracts will enhance efforts to recruit and retain highly qualified employees to deliver essential City services and provide stability for workers. The proposed four-year agreements cover wages, benefits, hours, and other working conditions for the period from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2026. Public sector collective bargaining agreements regularly include a retroactive start date. The proposed contracts include a 5% Annual Wage Increase (AWI) retroactively applied for 2023 and a 4.5% AWI for 2024, totaling a two-year 9.7% adjustment. The 2025 AWI will be based on a two-year average of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue-area with a 2% floor and a 4% cap. The 2026 AWI will be calculated similarly but then be increased by 1% with a 3% floor and a 5% cap. 
  • Wage Equity for Lowest Paid Employees: Based on the details of a comprehensive wage equity study, the contracts focus on raising wages for an array of positions that have historically been paid below market rate and positions that have been the hardest to recruit and retain qualified staff. These include a 22% wage adjustment for Park Maintenance Aides to support the City’s efforts to ensure parks are clean, maintained and open to all; a 16% pay adjustment for lifeguards to help keep pools and beaches open; and an 8% increase for 911 Emergency Dispatchers to maintain and improve our 911 response capacity in the new Community Assisted Response & Engagement (CARE) department
  • Ensuring the City is a Great Employer: In addition to wage increases, the tentative contracts include provisions related to accelerated vacation accrual after four years of employment, increased premiums for swing and graveyard shift workers, and expanded access to bereavement leave to cover any legally recognized family relationship. Legislation delivered to the City Council will also extend pay rate increases to non-represented employees so as to maintain parity for all employees. 
  • Fiscal Responsibility: The proposed contract prioritizes putting the City on a stable fiscal trajectory. As noted in his 2024 State of the City speech, Mayor Harrell remains committed to taking a comprehensive approach to address the City’s budget, including a thorough analysis of current spending in collaboration with the City Council. 

The mayor transmitted the labor agreement legislation to the City Council for a ratification vote. Under City law, tentative labor agreements do not become final contracts until and unless a majority of Councilmembers vote to ratify them. 

“This contract had a focus on equity, including raising pay to a living wage to support the City’s lowest wage workers,” said Mary Keefe, Co-Chair of the City Coalition of Unions Bargaining Team and Business Agent, Teamsters 763. “This agreement will allow for continuing efficient delivery of services, building a diverse workforce, and ensuring the City government reflects the people who call the city home.” 

“After much hard work and many long discussions, this contract agreement is the result of collaboration and compromise – it reflects a shared commitment to a common end goal: Excellent City services and fairly treated employees who make those services possible. This contract will allow us to live up to those values,” said Mark Watson, Co-Chair of the City Coalition of Unions Bargaining Team and Protect 17, Union Representative

“Public safety is critical to the success of the City, and the high turnover rates over the past 5 years are a clear indicator of the need for change in competitive compensation,” said Jen Clayton, President, Seattle Dispatchers’ Guild. “I have witnessed firsthand the impact fair compensation has on morale, productivity, and the success of city initiatives. The 911 center in particular would not be able to accommodate the City vision for a cohesive response hub without dedicated, experienced individuals, and this contract helps us meet these goals.” 

The Coalition of City Unions represents City workers from 16 unions, including PROTEC17, LiUNA/Laborers Local 242, AFSCME Council 2, Local 104, Seattle Dispatchers Guild, Sheet Metal Workers Local 66, IBEW Local 46, IAM District 160, Teamsters 117, Teamsters 763, IATSE Local 15, Painters/IUPAT District Council 5, IIUOE Local 302, Inlandboatmen’s Union, Court Marshal’s Guild, and UNITE HERE! Local 8.