Mar 23, 2021 - News
Juneteeth becomes paid holiday for Des Moines city employees
A Juneteenth rally in New York last year. Photo: Mohammad Hamja/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Juneteenth will be a paid holiday for Des Moines city employees under agreements approved Sunday by city council.

By the numbers: It will cost the city an estimated $220,000, according to union contracts that cover most city employees.

  • The day off is June 18 this year since the holiday lands on a Saturday.

The backdrop: It commemorates the day (June 19, 1865) that Union soldiers told enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, that the Civil War had ended and they were free.

  • Iowa began observing it in 1990, the seventh state to do so. It's still not a paid holiday for state employees, though.

Other highlights approved in DSM's three-year union contracts that begin July 1:

  • Annual raises of between 2.5% to 3.5%.
  • Employees' share of health premium costs will increase by 1% for many police employees.
  • Extends paid parental leave from four to as many as eight weeks.

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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