City of Tulsa changing pay schedule, has union up in arms over expected employee short-changing

TULSA - The City of Tulsa is going to a different pay schedule in March, shifting from paying employees 24 times a year to a 26-pay period system.

However, the union says the move in mid-year is causing employees to lose hundreds -- if not thousands -- of dollars.

It affects all non-sworn employees, some 2,000 City of Tulsa employees.

They're all covered under the local AFSCME union, which is battling a cut in pay for its members.

"It's balancing the budgets on the backs of city workers," said Michael Rider, who represents the local AFSCME employees union.

The change in payroll is the big issue for Rider. The 2NEWS Investigators obtained an internal memo from City leaders to City employees, which says the transition from the old pay schedule to the new one will eliminate a week's pay. 

Employees can either lose that pay or "sell-back" their vacation.

2NEWS Investigators talked to a City of Tulsa employee about the impact it will have on employees. They wanted us to withhold their identity for fear of retribution.

"In our area, the employees don't have a lot of vacation, so they're just going to end up having to suffer basically," the employee said.

The union also says the way the City is handling the pay change, it will short salary employees an additional 53 hours of pay.

"It's kind of a slap in the face to the City's workforce," said Rider.

Rider says the mayor's office sent an amended version of the employee contract to allow the decrease in pay and/or benefits. Rider says the law requires the union and mayor's office to sit down and negotiate. Rider says that's not what happened. Instead, he said he was handed a changed contract without having a conversation.

We contacted the City of Tulsa for comment. City leaders denied our request for an on-camera interview but sent us a statement saying employees knew this was coming and went on to say, "The City of Tulsa pays, and will continue to pay, the employee's current hourly rate for all hours worked."

The union plans to make a presentation to city councilors about the pay schedule concerns.

It's a story the 2NEWS Investigators will continue to follow.

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