Advertisement

Hagerstown City Council approves general labor employees' contract

July 23, 2013|By HOLLY SHOK | holly.shok@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — After nearly five months of negotiations, about 130 of 329 union city employees will receive a 2 percent wage increase and some will advance a step on the wage scale, thanks to the Hagerstown City Council’s unanimous vote Tuesday night to approve the general labor employees’ three-year labor contract.

The 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for the city’s general labor workers —  American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1540 — will be effective Aug. 1.

AFSCME 1540, which represents employees in the department of public works in addition to utility, parks and other workers, is the largest of the city’s four unions, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said.

Employees at years one and two of the wage scale will also “advance to the step on the scale based on their years of service effective Jan. 1, 2014,” according to city documents.

Advertisement

All other steps within the union will continue at their current frozen rates.

The cost of the 2 percent wage increase, step arrangement and relevant benefits in fiscal 2013-14 for AFSCME Local 1540 union employees is $189,965.89, the documents said. Of that total, $79,136.70 is from general funds.

The AFSCME Local 1540 contract runs Aug. 1 through June 30, 2016.

Years two and three of the contract include a “reopener” for the negotiation of wages and benefits, Zimmerman said. 

“Negotiation under the terms of the reopener will commence no later than March 2014,” the documents said.

“I do want to commend the staff and the union negotiating team for coming to this agreement,” Mayor David S. Gysberts said. “I know that it’s not been easy, especially with the current economic climate ....”

The three city unions that have yet to solidify labor contracts include the Hagerstown police union, Hagerstown firefighters union and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Zimmerman said.

The unions’ current labor contract was set to expire June 30, but Hagerstown officials approved a six-month extension in early June, allotting the negotiating teams time to flesh out new contracts, according to previous reports in The Herald-Mail.

“I really would have loved to have seen all of our unions come in together ... it certainly would have (been) a great feeling to know that everybody was on the same page,” Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh said.

“I just hope now the other unions will be able to see some light and make their decisions.”

On June 18, the council voted 3-1 to approve a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for the 135 full-time, nonunion city employees.

Nigh voted against the action, saying the measure would create tension between nonunion and union city employees negotiating labor contracts. Councilman Lewis C. Metzner was absent from that meeting.

During the current fiscal year, the total cost of that COLA for nonunion employees will be $220,500, the majority of which will be absorbed by the general fund, documents said.

June 30 marked four years since city employees have received a COLA and three years since step-increase adjustments, according to previous reports in The Herald-Mail.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|