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City, Clerical Workers Reach Contract Deal

by Staff | Aug 1, 2012 2:11 pm

(4) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Business/ Economic Development, City Hall

More than two years after their last contract expired, clerical workers have come to a new contract agreement with the city.

The proposed contract was submitted this week to the Board of Aldermen for approval, according to a press release from city spokeswoman Elizabeth Benton.

The 5-year contract would save the city $3.5 million and increase the take-home pay of the average Local 884 member, according to the release.

The union, AFSCME Council 4 Local 884, comprises about 430 clerical workers. The contract, which covers July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2015, was ratified at a union meeting on Friday, July 27.

“The agreement addresses several areas noted by credit rating agencies in their recent reports, including sensible pensions, health plans that reflect market conditions, and the elimination of premium pay such as longevity,” Benton wrote. Ratings agencies last week downgraded the city’s financial outlook to “negative,” in part due to low financial reserves and underfunded pensions.

The expected $3.5 million in savings in the new contract will come from reductions in pension and medical costs, Benton said.

The city still needs to reach contracts with nine other unions, including police and firefighters, according to Benton.

She shared the following details about the clerical contract:

• Wage increases of 3 percent, 2 percent and 2 percent in fiscal years 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively.
• Elimination of longevity payments for newer employees.
• A high-deductible medical plan, “consistent with contracts for school administrators and school custodians.” “Employees may choose to retain similar existing plans, but will pay higher cost shares under the new agreement,” Benton wrote.
• Also like other city bargaining units, the contract includes “a tiered pension structure [that] protects the benefits of employees close to or at retirement age, while introducing changes for those not yet hired and with fewer years on the job.”
• Work rule changes “to improve staffing flexibility and efficiency.”
• A reduction in “Minimum guaranteed pay for those called in to work outside their traditional shift”: from four hours to three hours.
• Rolling shifts for public safety answering staff.
• “Flexibility that provides for additional library branch hours on Saturdays.”

Local 884 president Ronald Hobson couldn’t be reached for comment by press time.

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posted by: Threefifths on August 1, 2012  2:40pm

Ok Union Haters.Notice Elimination of longevity payments for newer employees.
• A high-deductible medical plan, “consistent with contracts for school administrators and school custodians.” “Employees may choose to retain similar existing plans, but will pay higher cost shares under the new agreement,” Benton wrote.
• Also like other city bargaining units, the contract includes “a tiered pension structure protects the benefits of employees close to or at retirement age, while introducing changes for those not yet hired and with fewer years on the job.”
• Work rule changes “to improve staffing flexibility and efficiency.

So what is the problem now.

posted by: anonymous on August 1, 2012  3:25pm

Other city libraries (and even many small town libraries) are open seven days per week.

Why can’t we do that here?  Libraries are a bargain in the grand scheme of things, certainly orders of magnitude cheaper than renovating a huge armory as a youth center. 

I thought that our City was supposed to be focused on youth?

posted by: stuckinNH on August 1, 2012  4:17pm

like there is a huge line of city kids banging on the library door on sunday—give me a break!!

posted by: Fan of Joanne on August 1, 2012  7:19pm

Actually many people would be very grateful if the libraries were open on Sundays. There are hundreds of New Haven residents that do not own a home computer. These people use the library on a daily basis to apply for jobs, correspond with family and friends via email, or conduct research on the internet. In addition, there are many parents who work hard Monday through Saturday, and Sunday might be the only opportunity for them to bring their children to the public library to borrow books, do research for a homework assignment, or use the computers to type up a book report. And yes, children and teens in New Haven have summer reading assignments as well.
Many adults and families in New Haven cannot afford to go to a movie, go bowling or even visit the Peabody Museum on the weekend! The public library is often their only source of or recreational or cultural entertainment for their family. At our public libraries, families can participate in a wide variety of activities together all for free. The New Haven Free Public Library has something for every age including book clubs, film series, lectures, concerts, Lego clubs, exercise classes, computer classes and ESL tutoring.
SO yes there would be huge lines of kids, adults, and grandparents banging on the doors of the public libraries on Sundays!

Sharon Lovett-Graff, Librarian
New Haven Free Public Library

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