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Manchester aldermen OK Water Works contract

MANCHESTER — The Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday ratified a two-year contract between the Water Works and the union representing most of its employees.

The contract, between United Steelworkers Local 8938 and the utility, raises health insurance premiums to 17.5 percent from 5 percent and is projected to bring $219,000 in savings over the term of the contract.

The agreement also gives the employees one percent raises in each of the years.

The Water Works union was one of two that rejected a contract extension agreed to by other city unions last year. The proposal then was to raise the employee contribution rate for health care to 12.5 percent and then 15 percent the next year.

Only one alderman, Ward 10’s Phil Greazzo, voted against the contract.

He said the employee contribution rate is still too low. “I don’t think this brings us to where we need to be on health care costs,” he said.

The contract was approved on the same evening that Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, which administers the city’s health insurance program, presented a report that showed the city’s health care costs have continued to decline from 2011.

The city’s total health care costs in the last fiscal year were $17.4 million, a 12 percent decline from 2012. The drop was attributed to changes in employment contracts, a reduction in the number of city employees, and how the employees used their coverage.

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