TAMPA — By a vote of 348 to 75, the city's general employees union on Tuesday approved a new contract that includes no raises this year.
Mayor Pam Iorio told leaders of the general employees, police and firefighters unions in April that she planned to freeze pay throughout the city this year. All three unions agreed to forgo cost-of-living increases, but continued to push for merit or so-called "step" increases, which are awarded to police officers and firefighters as they rise through the ranks in their early years on the job.
Iorio has repeatedly warned that giving those raises would result in layoffs. In July, she declared she had reached an impasse in contract negotiations with the unions.
The police and fire contracts have gone before special magistrates. The magistrate who heard arguments on the police contract issued a nonbinding recommendation that the step increases be suspended for one year. No recommendation has been issued on the firefighters contract.
If the unions and the city can't reach agreements, the contracts will go to the Tampa City Council for a vote.