New union contract for DPW workers approved

A letter or memorandum specifying terms for a new contract for the city’s department of public works employees was approved for the mayor’s signature by the common council at Tuesday’s meeting. The terms in the letter specify updates to a previous contract which expired in June 2015, between the city and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 66-Local 1614 union which represents the workers.

According to the letter, employees will not receive any retroactive pay increase for the time period of July 2016 through 2017. However, employees will receive retroactive raises of 1% from January 2018, 1% from July 2018, and 1% from January 2019. The letter indicates that employees will receive future raises of 2% in July 2019 and 2% in July 2020. The terms of the agreement extend through June 2021.

The letter also indicates that employees will be paid bi-weekly via direct deposit, a change that city officials have said will cut down on payroll processing expenses.

New health insurance co-pays and required contributions are also specified in the letter. Under the previous contract, the required employee contribution requirement started at a flat $9 to $12 per week from 2001 to 2005, and then was set at 8% of the cost of the plan from 2005 to 2008, and then at 10% from 2008. Under the new terms, employees hired before ratification of the new agreement will continue contributing 10%, while new employees will contribute 15%.

While the previous contract specified a flat $15 co-pay for medical services, the new terms specify a range of co-pays for different services, starting at $20 for primary care physician and urgent care visits, $75 for emergency room visits, $50 for out-patient surgeries, and $150 for in-patient surgeries.

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.