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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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Trump running mate Vance to deliver 'the most important speech' of his career at Republican convention tonight; Alabama group receives grant to boost FAFSA submissions; Bilingual, multicultural staff needed for NJ addiction treatment; Toledo plant to manufacture EVs with federal funding.

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The Republican National Convention connects crime to migration. Kari Lake and delegates from Texas, Florida, and California talk about border issues. Desantis pokes fun at President Biden and Nikki Haley gives the night's big speech.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Richmond city workers’ first union contract to take effect

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Tuesday, July 9, 2024   

More than a year after City of Richmond workers filed to vote on a union contract, they are celebrating its implementation.

The contract provides workers with an established grievance process, updated health and safety guidelines, and labor management committees to help improve different departments. Workers described the moment as everything they have waited for.

Felicia Boney, management analyst associate in the Department of Social Services for the City of Richmond, said it sends a message to other cities about the efficacy of treating workers fairly.

"The economy has changed," Boney pointed out. "People are looking for better employment, better benefits. It will improve retention of the employees and if employers are treating their employees like they should, it would benefit them."

Cities like Alexandria, Portsmouth, and Newport News are all in different stages of the unionization process. A 2021 poll showed 68% of Virginians favored letting public employees unionize.

Boney noted there was plenty of give and take from the city and workers, making it quite a process to reach this point but with things in place, she emphasized the city is eager to start working with the Joint Labor Management Committee.

Another reason for the contract's implementation is making the city more competitive in hiring. The hope is to attract people to jobs in understaffed departments. She stressed workers are eager to see what lies ahead in a new chapter of Richmond's history.

"We love our jobs, we really do," Boney added. "We just want to be able to be better at doing what we're doing, and I think this gives us an opportunity to do just that. We want to make Richmond great again and I think this is one of the tracks we can take to do that."

Before the contract and unionization, one in 12 of the city's full-time employees could not support themselves on their salary. The city also saw high turnover rates across agencies. In all, it cost the city more than $6.5 million per year.


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