Competitive Pay Scale Expected to Decrease Department Turnover in Raleigh, N.C.
With the passage and implementation of the City of Raleigh’s budget on July 1, police officers represented by Teamsters Local 391 are expected to see pay increases of anywhere from 3 percent to 13 percent. The new budget also increases the starting base salary for police to $40,000 annually.
“Congratulations to all of our brothers and sisters in uniform who lobbied the city council, lobbied the city manager and educated the public about the importance of these increases,” said Local 391 Vice President and Business Agent Rick Armstrong. “It took three years and a lot of hard work from our members and shop stewards to get these raises implemented, but it paid off.”
The pay increases are expected to dramatically reduce turnover in the city of Raleigh. Armstrong noted that many of the suburbs surrounding the city pay around $5,000-$6,000 more annually per year, and that Raleigh was losing a significant number of officers to surrounding small towns shortly after their graduation from the police academy.
“Experienced officers are going to be more confident and more skilled, and therefore better equipped to serve Raleigh residents,” Armstrong said.
Matt Cooper is a Local 391 police officer and president of the Raleigh Police Protective Association. As part of the public campaign he spearheaded to bring attention to the issue of substandard wages in the Raleigh Police Department, he successfully lobbied the city government to implement a case study on wage rates that validated claims he and other officers in Local 391 had been making for years. Cooper noted that the victory on salary is an important milestone in the ongoing struggle to bring better wages and benefits to Teamster law enforcement in Raleigh.
“The best thing was for us to have the whole local, the whole organization engaged. It takes a collective effort of everyone in the union to get behind a particular issue, members can’t wait until an issue affects them personally,” Cooper said. “We’re still actively involved, and we’re going to keep holding city officials accountable. It’s not mission accomplished, but we’re on our way to having a positive outcome.”