Press-Republican

November 26, 2013

City Council approves two deals with unions

By JOE LoTEMPLIO
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — City of Plattsburgh councilors approved contracts for two unions, hoping to solidify future budgets.

“The important point of all this is that uncertainty is hard for budgeting,” Councilor and Mayor-elect James Calnon (I-Ward 4) said at a recent Common Council meeting.

“These contracts will help with continuity in what certainly will be difficult budget times in the future.”

The council unanimously approved contracts with American Federation of State County Municipal Employees Local 788 and Plattsburgh Police Officers Union Council 82 Local 812.

AFSCME

The AFSCME deal is for five years retroactively from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2015. It provides raises of 1.5 percent for each of the five years.

It calls for employees hired after May 21, 1993, to continue paying 15 percent of their health-insurance premiums. When those workers retire, they will pay no more than 3 percent of their earnings for the coverage.

Those hired after Nov. 15, 2013, will pay 15 percent of their health-insurance premiums while they are working and throughout retirement.

The union rank and file voted 58 to 9 to approve the contract.

Union President Chris Bleaux told councilors that he was pleased with the deal.

“Every time I get up and leave the (negotiating) table, I get a bad feeling that I left something out,” he said. “Then I realize that the city probably feels the same way. That’s the way it should be; everybody doesn’t always get what they want.”

CITY POLICE

The police union contract is for four years, from Jan. 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2016.

It calls for raises of 1.5 percent in the first year, 1 percent the second, 1.5 percent in year three and 1 percent the final year.

There are no other changes in the contract.

The union members voted 40 to 3 to approve the deal.

“We think this is a fair contract and meets all the needs of both sides,” Union Vice President Sgt. Kevin Riley said.

“I think it sends a message that we understand the city’s needs, and at the same time they know our needs and want to be fair and take care of their employees.”

Councilor Chris Jackson said the two contracts will cover 126 of the city’s 196 employees.

“I am very happy to vote for this,” he said.

Mayor Donald Kasprzak said leaders from AFSCME and the police unions were professional and respectful even if they didn’t always agree.

“I believe these contracts are fair for all involved, and I thank you very much,” the mayor told Bleaux at the recent Common Council meeting.

STILL UNSETTLED

The city’s two other unions are still without contracts, the employees working under the provisions of the expired agreements.

The firefighters’ union is in arbitration, and the Municipal Lighting Department contract will be going to a fact-finder in January.

Email Joe LoTemplio:jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com