City considering pay raises for non-union workers to ease recruitment as wave of retirements approaches

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Difficulties attracting and retaining skilled workers amid a wave of retirements prompted the city to probe a wage hike for non-union employees.

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For more than a decade, Windsor has targeted non-union wages at the median level — the 50th percentile — over a dozen similar “comparator” municipalities. However, a staff report presented to the board next week recommends raising salaries for non-union workers, the administrative director and management and corporate teams to the 60th percentile, all to stay competitive in the job market.

Vincenza Mihalo, the city’s executive director of human resources, said the city is struggling to recruit for non-union technical positions, especially in engineering, finance, intellectual property and planning. .

“We struggle to get people to apply and the people who apply are qualified for these positions,” Mihalo said. “We are also starting to lose some of our employees to surrounding municipalities.”

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With the average target percentile for similar municipalities ranging from the 50th to the 75th, targeting Windsor non-union wages at the 60th percentile would help with recruitment and retention, she said.

Vincenza Mihalo, Human Resources Manager for the City of Windsor, is pictured outside City Hall, Tuesday, August 20, 2019.
Vincenza Mihalo, Human Resources Manager for the City of Windsor, is pictured outside City Hall, Tuesday, August 20, 2019. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

While salaries are only one of the parameters taken into account by employees in deciding whether to stay or join the city, “it is nevertheless a key factor influencing this decision,” the staff report states. “As the board knows, the company, like most other employers, faces very significant challenges in retaining and attracting qualified employees. Needless to say, these challenges have a significant impact on the levels and quality of services that can be provided. »

According to the city, the transportation planning department is currently 50% staffed with four vacancies. The Active Transportation Coordinator position has been vacant for over a year following unsuccessful recruitment attempts.

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In the building department, which has only 80% staff, the workload is said to have increased by 80% since 2013. Construction activity has increased by an average of 10% per year over the past eight years.

A member of the city’s two-person site plan control team was recruited from another municipality, doubling the workload of the remaining person and impacting the project schedule, a indicated the city. Vacancies in other planning areas, such as subdivisions and zoning regulations, are creating a similar domino effect, causing backlogs as applications to the department continue to soar.

Should the board decide to go ahead with the raise for the 2021/22 wage market review – such a review is undertaken every two years at the city – “there is a good chance that an adjustment salary is necessary” to achieve the goal, the staff report says. For 2019/20, the previous review year, the administration recommends that the board move forward with a move to the target 55th percentile, which would result in the payment of salaries in 2021 and 2022 and result in the payment of $855,000 for all non-union positions.

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Reaching the 50th percentile, where the city currently stands, “does not bring every individual job to that exact goal,” the report says. The same would apply if the board decides to increase the target to the 60th percentile. As it stands, a third-party review of 67 municipal positions surveyed for 2020 found that 30 were paid below the 50th percentile, 33 were above and four were fair.

“With an increasing number of employees eligible for retirement (approximately 29% over the next five years) coupled with the fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit workers in the municipal sector, the (city) has emphasis on succession planning. , recruitment and retention strategies,” the staff report states.

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With an average of 63 city employees per year eligible to retire by 2025, “critical knowledge, specialist expertise and business continuity will be compromised if the city does not continue to remain at least minimally competitive in its wages,” the report said. The city is also losing staff due to “non-retirement departures.”

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  2. Vincenza Mihalo, Human Resources Manager for the City of Windsor, is pictured outside City Hall, Tuesday, August 20, 2019.

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The city’s target salary was at the 65th percentile of the market in 2008 from the previous year. This was reduced to 50 the 50th percentile “to help the (city) with the economic downturn at that time”.

In 2010, the city reached an agreement with the Civic Association of Unorganized Employees that it would undertake a market wage review every three years and that wages would be maintained at at least the 50th percentile of “comparator” municipalities. The interval between reviews fell to two years in 2012.

Windsor’s comparator municipalities include Chatham-Kent, Kitchener, Guelph, Thunder Bay, Greater Sudbury, Brampton, London, Hamilton and the regions of Halton, Niagara, Waterloo and Durham.

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