Saratoga County

Ballston, highway workers reach three-year contract

The town has settled a three-year labor contract with town Highway Department employees, town offici

The town has settled a three-year labor contract with town Highway Department employees, town officials announced Wednesday.

Highway Department workers, who also run the town Water Department, will receive raises of 3 percent thi year, and2 percent each year in 2017 and 2018.

The contract was settled following a meeting last month with a state-appointed mediator, town Supervisor Tim Szczepaniak said. Both the Town Board and the union members have now ratified it.

The employees are represented by Teamsters Local 294, which unionized the department in 2013. The previous three-year contract expired Dec. 31.

“We look forward to a successful partnership with the town for many years to come,” said Joe Bulgaro, president of Local 294.

Under the contract, employees will contribute more toward their health insurance costs.

Employees hired before 1998 will pay 5 percent of their health insurance premium, employees hired between 1998 and 2013 pay 15 percent, and those hired after 2013 pay 25 percent. The town will no longer cover the entire deductible for employees, paying either 50 percent, or 75 percent for employees enrolled in a wellness program.

“The days of employees being 100 percent covered by the town are unfortunately over,” Szczepaniak said.

There is a $300 clothing and safety shoes allowance in the new contract, and prescription safety glasses are also covered up to $400, town officials said.

“I am glad we have been able to reach an agreement with the unit and think that it’s a good solid contract for the employees and fair for Ballston taxpayers,” said Highway Superintendent Joe Whalen.

Szczepaniak noted that the employees work long hours, responding to water main breaks on nights and weekends as well as keeping roads cleared during storms and maintained throughout the year. The bargaining unit has 11 members, with Whalen the only highway employee not represented by the union.

The town has 53 miles of roads and almost 2,500 water customers.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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