Issue: Raise for Municipal Service Employees

Should trash collectors, street and sewer maintenance workers and other service employees get a wage increase because Department of Water and Power workers won a 9% pay hike and the City Council is slated to get a 5% increase in January?

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* William Nettles, photographer , Echo Park I don't see how city workers, in this economy and environment, can get an increase in pay when government services are being cut back. For instance, I'm working twice as hard to make 25% less money than I made two years ago. I think any pay raise should be results-oriented. For instance, in Echo Park, crime is down, so maybe the police in Echo Park should get a raise. But I also don't see where the money's coming from. I think the council people should set an example and take a pay cut. Any executive in a business with as many problems as the city of L.A. would not get a raise. The only business that took pay raises in red ink were the savings and loans!

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* J. J. Joo, project coordinator, Koryo Teen Clinic, Koreatown I think they deserve a raise. I don't think they do get enough money for what they're doing. A lot of the city workers are immigrants, and language may be a problem so they can't get office work . . . and I'm sure a lot of city workers, like everyone else, have families to raise. But if they do get a raise, I think it should be across the board, with everyone in the city getting it.

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* Carolyn E. Oliver, executive director, L.A. Junior Chamber of Commerce I certainly feel like (a pay increase of)3% a year is a reasonable request, when you consider our inflation rate is about 2.5%. I think with their request, (the workers) are trying to really work with the city. I've worked in an environment where there is a freeze on raises and I've seen how it affects morale. I also understand if there's no money, there's no money. We're living in a world of finite resources. To continue to ask for (the workers') dedication requires an alternative, creative, non-monetary reward system to let people know they are appreciated.

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* Jovita Morales, linen presser, East Los Angeles Everybody deserves a raise. But people like me, we're working so hard in big companies for a little bit of money, and (city workers) get more money than me and other people. There are a lot of people like me; we're working hard for nothing. I'm working in a laundry and I'm working eight hours a day, and I'm working hard, very hard. And you know how much they pay me? Seven dollars an hour. So no, city workers shouldn't get a raise now; they make a lot of money.

--Compiled by Iris Yokoi , Times community correspondent

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