The city and its Department of Public Works employees may soon have a new five-year contract, Mayor Tim Hughes said Thursday.
Hughes said the two sides have reached a tentative agreement that DPW union officials will soon present to their membership. The unit of the Civil Service Employees Association, which also includes some City Hall office staff, has been without a contract since Dec. 31.
Union President Stephen Kemmer could not be reached Thursday for comment, but Hughes said the proposal is fair to both sides.
He said the proposal was formulated after about 20 bargaining sessions held since last year. Hughes said an agreement had been delayed as both sides researched health insurance options and salary issues.
If the CSEA membership supports the proposal, Hughes said it will come before the Common Council.
Hughes declined to discuss terms, but said the pact contains what he called “some different twists.” He said there was recognition during the talks that some members of the unit are “paid very low wages.”
There was also an acknowledgement at the bargaining table, Hughes said, “that health care costs are killing us.”
Hughes said he is optimistic both sides can ratify an agreement in coming weeks.
The five-year deal, he said, is the best course for both sides. There is an endless cycle of talks when contracts cover only two years, Hughes said.
CSEA and the city approved a four-year deal in February 2005. Part of that pact was retroactive.
That agreement awarded raises over the period totaling 9 percent and gave the 40-plus members a choice of three health insurance plans.
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Categories: Schenectady County