City reaches agreement with caulkers’ union - The Buffalo News
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City reaches agreement with caulkers’ union

A 13-year agreement with about 30 unionized city employees is headed for approval today after members of Teamsters Local 264 told city lawmakers they are in favor of the deal.

“It’s been 10 years in the making,” union President Brian Dickman told Common Council members during a pre-meeting caucus Monday.

The Council is expected to vote today in favor of the pact with caulkers, who repair city water lines. The agreement covers about 25 current employees and a few Teamsters who have retired since the last agreement expired. The union’s membership voted to ratify the deal.

Majority Leader Demone A. Smith called the caulkers’ work “one of the hardest jobs” performed by city employees.

The agreement includes 2 percent salary increases annually from July 1, 2007, to July 1, 2016, and requires all covered employees to live in the city.

Labor Relations Director Omar Price said the contract is the last one to linger from when the city had a wage freeze imposed by its control board.

The agreement is expected to save the city $307,408 through 2016, through health insurance changes, new hires contributing 15 to 25 percent towards health care, less vacation time and work rule changes that will generate savings in overtime and personal leave time, according to a letter to Council members from Mayor Byron W. Brown.

Instead of a five-step wage scale, the employees will be on a seven-step scale.

Also on the Council’s agenda today is a $75,000 settlement with retired police lieutenant Margaret Sack, which lawmakers are expected to approve. Sack had sued the city in federal court in December 2010, claiming the city discriminated and retaliated against her.

Corporation Counsel Timothy A. Ball told lawmakers that a federal court is waiting on the Council’s decision.

In other business, Council members decided to send a request to sell the former School 71, at 104 Lang Ave., to the Community Development Committee for further discussion.

Sale of the school to the King Center Charter School, which is seeking to leave its current home at the King Urban Life Center at 938 Genesee St., has dominated discussion in the Council for the last several weeks.

However, the Brown administration’s request for Council approval of the sale, filed last week, is the first time there has been anything before the Council that requires its vote.

Debate over the sale, which is opposed by the center’s board but favored by charter school officials, will take place at 1 p.m. April 22. The committee could decide to have the full Council vote on the sale when the Council meets April 29.

Charter school officials said the school is growing and needs more space.


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