Skip to main content


Springfield members net hazard pay of up to $5,000

September 21, 2021

Local 888 leaders and negotiators have won hazard pay for the city of Springfield’s civil engineers.

Local 888 leaders and negotiators have won hazard pay for the city of Springfield’s civil engineers. The city said that the bonus checks, of up to $5,000, would go to essential workers who went “above and beyond” the call of duty during the pandemic crisis.
“Our members came through for Springfield during the COVID-19 crisis — a crisis that hit of course when there were no vaccines at all,” said Local 888 President Tom McKeever. “These hard-won bonuses for our members are well earned and long overdue.”
“The signing of the agreement over COVID-19 pay shows that Local 888 and the city are moving forward together in these nontraditional times,” said Peter Shumway, chapter president. “However, the real bargaining for the chapter’s contract is yet to be done.”
In a letter last month to Springfield’s mayor, three city councilors — Tracye Whitfield, Justin Hurst, and Victor Davila — called for having hazard pay go to Local 888 and other union members. They said it was unfair for Springfield to be providing hazard pay to nonunion supervisors while ignoring rank-and-file workers’ sacrifices.
“It sends the wrong message to pay some and leave others out of the equation” Hurst told the MassLive website. “Everyone should have been paid at the same time.”
The bonus hazard pay is being funded under federal COVID-19 recovery aid to Springfield; the city expects to get $98 million. The relief money is part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act of 2021 backed by the Biden administration and passed by the U.S. Congress.
No Republicans in the U.S. House or Senate voted for the bill.
“Republicans’ refusal to support the COVID-19 stimulus package clearly demonstrates that their priorities are not in the interests of working people,” said McKeever. “The support for the COVID Rescue Act by Massachusetts congressmen demonstrates the importance of political action to Local 888 and its members.”
McKeever said that, at first, he and the union were more interested in securing raises or improved retirement benefits that would begin with the relief program. It is easier, however, for state and local governments to offer one-time bonuses.