Schenectady settles union contracts with firefighters, bureau of services, electrical workers


SCHENECTADY — Contracts with three city unions were recently settled at a combined impact of $4.1 million to the city, including an update to the firefighter unit’s pact that had previously expired in December 2018.

“They’re basic — in the 2% range — so they’re consistent with inflation and with what other communities are doing,” Mayor Gary McCarthy said of contracts that were authorized last week by the City Council with city firefighters, the Bureau of Services and the electrical workers’ unit.

“These have been out there for a while,” McCarthy said of the retroactive agreements. “Because of COVID, things got pushed back. So it’s recognizing what employees do, providing for pay increases so that they’re compensated.

“The other side of it is we’re having trouble, like everybody else, in terms of hiring people,” the mayor said, noting his proposed 2022 operating budget calls for hiring 45 employees. “Some of the pay increases moves it up a little bit, to get people to look at taking a job with the city.”

The president of the firefighters’ union, Ben Yauchler, did not return a message last week.

Here’s a breakdown of each agreement:

A memorandum of agreement with Local 28 IAFF AFL-CIO, which represents 125 city firefighter positions, grants workers 2% retroactive raises as of Jan. 1, 2019, Jan. 1, 2020 and Jan. 1, 2021.

The workers will also receive 2% raises on Jan. 1, 2022, and in January of 2023 and 2024.

In addition, they will receive a one-time nonrecurring payment of $250 as of April 2020 for their work performed in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also, effective Jan. 1, 2022, their longevity pay and schedules increase to 4.65% in years 10 to 14; 6.65% during their 15th year of employment; and it exceeds 8% during their 20th year of employment.

The agreement calls for a slight increase in longevity pay in January 2023.

Unit members assigned to the fire investigation division will receive a $5,000 annual stipend that will be paid out in equal weekly installments during the course of the year.

The stipend is in exchange for the understanding that all certified fire investigators will be available on a rotating schedule to respond to fire investigations related to emergency calls. The coverage timeframe will be distributed evenly among investigators who are to make themselves available at all times and upon notification from the Fire Department. They’ll be given 90 minutes to arrive at fire headquarters.

The impact of the new firefighters’ contract is $3,262,892.

The contract with the union for the Bureau of Services’ 110 positions is at an impact of $777,152 to the city.

That contract’s highlights include: The addition of Juneteenth as a holiday; a retroactive pay increase from Jan. 1, 2021, of $1.50 per hour, with another $1.50 per hour raise on Jan. 1, 2022, and 2% raises in January 2023, January 2024, and January 2025.

All on-call employees will receive $100 per week beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

Waste department mechanical equipment and maintenance operators that voluntarily drive and load alone will receive an extra “one-man” rate of $2 per hour.

Labor loaders that voluntarily load alone will receive an extra $1 per hour.

All water and sewer maintenance workers will be cross-trained and upgraded $1 per hour.

Lastly, a contract with the electrical workers labor union’s five positions has an impact of $92,000 to the city.

It increases workers’ pay 2.25% retroactive to both January 2020  and January 2021, with a new base salary for line workers and electricians of $74,305.

They will also get an additional $1,000 one-time bonus as essential workers during the pandemic.

They are to receive additional 2.25% raises in January 2022 and 2023.

Contact reporter Brian Lee at [email protected] or 518-419-9766.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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