Richland Line Crew and City Can't Come to Contract Agreement

RICHLAND, WA-The Richland line crew and the city have been in negotiations for a new contract since last year, and still have not come to an agreement. 

The original contract expired in December of 2020, but negotiations started in September. 

There has been no agreement made because the crew feels they are not getting a fair deal.  

"They're the second lowest paid line crew in the state. For an essential job I think they need to be compensated fairly," said a fellow lineman Andrew Chapman. 

Only second to a four man crew in Chewelah.

They are asking for 'comparable wages' to cities that surround Richland.

Currently they are 7% behind surrounding city crews, like Benton PUD, Franklin PUD, and Benton REA. 

The city of Richland made them an offer on July 8th 2021 

"2% in crease 2021 3% 2022, and 3% 2023," said Ryan Lukson, the Mayor of Richland. 

They turned down that offer because it still was not comparable to surrounding crews.

With that contract they would still be the second lowest paid crew in Washington.

Surrounding crews wages would also continue to grow, increasing the 7% gap between Richland and the other crews. 

They want a contract that would at least shorten the gap.

Being a lineman is one of the most dangerous professions in the country, according to the better business bureau and they want their wage to reflect that work.