Derry, union agree to dealBy ADAM SWIFT
Union Leader Correspondent
May 08. 2013 11:24PM
DERRY - The town and the union representing a number of divisions of the Public Works Department have reached an agreement on a new three-year contract.
The contract contains pay raises of 1.25 to 1.5 percent per year over the coming three years, but also has employees making a greater contribution toward health insurance costs.
The Town Council will consider approving the contract with Teamsters Local 633 at its meeting on Tuesday, May 14.
"The union represents public works employees in the buildings and grounds, highway, parks, transfer station, vehicle maintenance, water, and waste water divisions," said Larry Budreau, assistant town administrator and human resources director.
Budreau said the parties arrived at a tentative agreement for the new contract on April 12, adding that it is similar to recent collective bargaining agreements with town support staff and the Derry Police Patrolmen's Association. The current contract with the public works employees expires on June 30.
The new contract, which would run through the end of June 2016 if approved, contains nearly 50 changes from the current agreement, including the increased employee contribution to health insurance premiums.
"The union approach at the table regarding cost items was one of collaboration and recognition of economic realities imposed on the town by the tax cap and the dramatic increase of 22 percent in fiscal year 2014 of the New Hampshire retirement system contributions," said Budreau.
The contract includes wage increases at the beginning of the next three fiscal years, beginning on July 1, of 1.5 percent, 1.25 percent and 1.5 percent. It also includes a 1 percent wage increase that kicks in on the final day of the contract.
"The parties have also agreed to increase employee contributions to health insurance premiums from 3.8 percent currently to 10 percent in July 2013, 12 percent in July 2014 and 14 percent in July 2015.
To help offset the increase in health insurance premium contributions, employees will receive a signing bonus in June of between $586 and $1465, depending on whether the employees receive single insurance coverage, two-person coverage or family coverage.
"The fiscal impact of this contract is anticipated to increase the total cost of compensation of the bargaining unit an average of 2.2 percent per year," said Budreau. "Because the increase in health insurance is compatible with the offset in wages, the fiscal year 2014 changes are accounted for in the fiscal year 2014 DPW budget."