Cape Coral city workers protest for better pay

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:
Line inside Cape Coral City Hall following protests. CREDIT: WINK News

Cape Coral city workers are demanding better pay by protesting at City Hall.

The workers argue that nearby city employees are being paid more than they are.

Living in Cape Coral has only gotten more expensive, and workers just want to be able to make enough to live in the place they work.

Rent, gas, groceries, and even daycare, has increased. Everything except for wages.

Richard Jones is the president of local union 2301. He represents the workers.

He said that inflation has been tough on people and that lack of matching wage increase has been rough on morale. Also, recruiting has been a persistent problem.

City workers sit inside Cape Coral City Hall following protests. CREDIT: WINK News

“We’ve got these vacancies that we’re unable to fill, which puts more pressure on the current employees and their workload on a day to day basis,” Jones said.

While Cape Coral is southwest Florida’s largest city, it lags behind in pay.

According to Jones, Cape coral’s starting hourly rate is $14.39 an hour, which is
less than fort Myers at $15, Naples, at $15.89, and Lee County at $16.10. And Collier County at $17 an hour.

List of starting minimum wage in SWFL.CREDIT: WINK News

Council members heard the concerns, saw the turnout, and said they understand that something needs to change.

Mayor John Gunter believes the city cannot afford to wait to increase wages.

“If we can get to the 75th percentile it will again make the city of cape coral the destination for workers,” Gunter said.

City leaders have talked about a short term solution.

They will start by doing a study to compare Cape Coral to 10 other cities, 5 local and 5 of similar size to see what a new compensation package would look like.

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