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Bakersfield city workers seek pandemic bonus pay

City Workers Seek Pandemic Bonus, Bakersfield, September 15, 2021
Posted at 10:21 PM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 02:11:08-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Dozens of city employees lined up on a Bakersfield street on Wednesday night before heading into the city council room to express their frustrations with their pay. They worked alongside county workers throughout the entire pandemic and now they’re asking for equal treatment.

Dozens of city employees gathered alongside their union outside city council doors telling 23ABC that they want a pandemic bonus that they feel they earned.

“They get $95 million to give it to the employees when we work. So why do they offer to us only $500,” asked one city employee.

Jose Rodriguez with the City of Bakersfield Parks and Recreation says county workers received less than county workers in a one-time pandemic paycheck.

“All we're asking is for them to give us our part. Give us our money that the state has given them to give to the essential workers,” said Rodriguez. “The county got 3,000. We should get 3,000. They're essential workers and so are we.”

Kern County supervisors approved a one-time payment for the thousands of county employees affected by the pandemic earlier this month. The money was included in this year’s fiscal budget but funds come from the American Rescue Plan.

Outside council doors 23ABC also caught up with Ignacio Morales, a senior code enforcement officer for the city who said that he works on the frontlines and has to make contact and enforce laws for the community including the homeless which put him at his colleagues at a risk this past year and a half.

“Not only coming in contact with someone who has COVID and getting it, but giving it to our co-workers. And not only that. There's even more. And that is taking it home to our family. Our loved ones. That's always in the back of our mind.”

And because of this risk, they’d like a reward hoping to negotiate with the city in the near future for any money being withheld.

23ABC also reached out to officials for comment and received a statement from the city manager's office saying in part: "The city is currently in negotiations regarding pay. The city declines to comment further due to the confidentiality of those ongoing negotiations."

And if that money comes workers say they'd use it for medical and housing bills, or other payments related to the pandemic.

“Basically it's up to the city council to make that decision. But of course like anything else these are hard times. Prices have skyrocketed in a variety of things.”

City workers were joined by their union. 23ABC did ask for an interview but they declined to speak on camera.