Press-Republican

Wednesday

June 11, 2014

City, electrical union OK contract

PLATTSBURGH — The City of Plattsburgh and the Municipal Lighting Department union have reached a new five-year deal.

The contract provides no raise for the 23 members of IBEW Local 1249 the first year then 1.5 percent increases the next four years.

The deal covers the period from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2017; employees had been working under the provisions of the former contract for almost two years.

"We like having contracts settled because it is important for budgeting purposes into the future," Mayor James Calnon said.

"It's not everything we wanted in a contract, but both sides got something that we can all live with."

'GOT IT DONE'

The deal also includes a 7 percent co-pay on health-insurance premiums for all MLD employees who retire after 2017. 

Existing retirees don't pay anything for health insurance, and that will stay the same.

The council unanimously approved the deal at its last meeting.

Union President David Bezio said the union is satisfied with the deal but not completely.

"Taking zero that first year was tough for us," he said. "We worked for a whole year and got no raise for it."

Bezio said the union voted 19 to 4 to approve the contract.

He said the 7 percent health-insurance co-pay for future retirees is reasonable.

"Not everyone is happy, but overall, we got it done."

FACTFINDER

Calnon said the MLD contract mirrors a deal signed last year by the city's largest union, the American Federation of State County Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and an agreement signed by the Police Department union.

Both of those collective-bargaining units inked contracts that provide raises of 1.5 percent — for five years for AFSCME and four years for the police.

"Most of what we do in the city is provide service, and we have some very good people working for us and want to be able to give them what they deserve," Calnon said, "but we also have to be mindful of the taxpayers."

Bezio said the mayor and federal factfinder brought in to help mediate a deal were good to work with.

"Negotiations were very cordial, and both sides worked hard to get a deal," he said.

"The factfinder did a good job of coming up with some things for both sides, and we were able to work from there."

Email Joe LoTemplio: jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @jlotemplio

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