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Council panel OKs union contract that covers 126 city workers

Council panel OKs union contract that covers 126 city workers

Encompasses departments such as Water, Parks and Wastewater
Council panel OKs union contract that covers 126 city workers
Schenectady Water Department workers repair a water main break on Millard Street in November 2016.
Photographer: PETER R. BARBER

The $600,000 union contract for more than 100 city employees was approved by the City Council Finance Committee Tuesday night.

Council members unanimously approved the negotiated contract for the AFSCME Local 1037A union members who work for the city. The contract will be voted on during the general City Council meeting for final approval on Jan. 22.

City Council President Ed Kosiur was absent at the meeting because he was sick, according to council members.

The contract gives employees a 2 percent raise for each of the four years covered by the contract, including a retroactive 2 percent raise for 2017. It also includes an additional $2 an hour for the months of December through March for Waste Department employees for working in cold temperatures.

City employees covered by AFSCME make between $17 to $21 an hour.

Mayor Gary McCarthy said the city will pay for the contract through the reserve fund balance.

AFSCME is the second largest employee union in the city and covers 126 employees. It encompasses departments such as Water, Parks and Wastewater.

Also on Tuesday, council members at a committee meeting agreed to table their vote on the Capital District Transportation Authority’s proposed ordinance to unify regulations for municipal taxi companies.

Cities such as Saratoga Springs, Troy and Albany have adopted the unified regulations. Other municipalities, such as Rensselaer, Schenectady and the town of Colonie, have not.

Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo said she met with 13 taxi company representatives Tuesday morning to go over their concerns.

Perazzo said their biggest concern was the requirement that all vehicles can’t be older than seven years. The average age of the vehicles in their fleet are 10 years old, with some being as old as 12 years, Perazzo said.

Independent Councilman Vince Riggi said taxi companies had “a good point.” 

He said some of the cars he and his wife own are around 14 to 15 years old and still run like they’re brand new.

“If it’s clean and serviceable, and it can get you from point A to point B, I don’t know why it’s an issue for them to operate that particular vehicle," Riggi said.

There was also some concern expressed by taxi companies about the possibility of a universal medallion system that would allow taxis from other municipalities to operate anywhere in the Capital District.

City Councilman John Mootooveren, chairman of the council’s Public Safety Committee, said he was fine waiting two weeks until the next committee meeting to vote on the proposed ordinance.

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