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Orchard Park union contract approved after two years of negotiation

After two years of negotiation, town white collar workers agreed to a contract with a series of two percent raises in the next four years and $40,000 in new contributions to the health insurance plan.

Until now 15 of the staff of 24 engineers, clerks and dispatchers covered under the Civil Service Employees Association contract paid nothing towards their health insurance, according to the deal announced by press release Monday.

The new terms take effect this year, starting in July with a 2.5 percent contribution.

Employee shares increase gradually to 10 percent by 2019, saving the town an estimated $40,000 in the next four years, said Supervisor Patrick Keem.

Already, employees hired between 2008 and 2010 already pay 10 percent. More recent full-time hires, including Keem, contribute 20 percent to their health insurance.

The new six-year contract, retroactive for the last two years, includes no raises until this year. For the next four years raises average 1.42 percent for a total of 8.5 percent by the 2019 end of the contract.

“The big stickler was wages and health insurance,” said Keem, the lead negotiator. “They were used to paying nothing for health insurance. They were accustomed to a certain increase. The wages just can’t go up at the same rate they used to.”

email: mkearns@buffnews.com