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Lancaster workers get raises, and contribute to health insurance

More than 60 Lancaster town employees are slated to receive 10 percent pay raises but also be the first unionized workers for the town to pay toward their health insurance as part of new seven-year contracts.

The contracts approved unanimously by the Town Board Monday follow ratifications by Civil Service Employees Association Local 815 units representing 36 white-collar workers and 27 blue-collar highway employees.

Both units had been working without contracts for nearly five years.

The settlement of two of the town’s four outstanding employee contracts is a milestone in Supervisor Johanna M. Coleman’s first year in office. Negotiations with the four unions had ground to a stalemate under former Supervisor Dino Fudoli, who lost his bid for re-election last November. The unsettled negotiations became an issue in the campaign, with Coleman vowing to tackle the employee contracts.

The Local 815 contracts run from Jan. 1, 2012 to Dec. 31, 2018.

Workers essentially receive 2 percent raises in each of five contract years between 2014 through 2018. No salary raises for 2012 and 2013 are in the new pact, but employees who worked the full calendar year of 2012 would be paid $1,000 upon their retirement. The same would hold true for those who worked all of 2013.

Effective this past July 1, the employees for the first time must begin contributing to the cost of their health insurance coverage, paying 4.5 percent through July 1, 2017, 5.5 percent effective July 1, 2017 and jumping to 8.5 percent Jan. 1, 2018.

“It took a long time to get here,” said Michelle Barbaro, clerk typist for the white collar unit. “It is very significant because we’ve been without a contract for five years. It’s good because we were stuck at the same wage for years and the cost of living is going up.”

The unions conceded to the health insurance concessions as a way to help get pay raises, Barbaro said.

Coleman said the health insurance concession was key. “That was significant for the unions. I think it’s only right. I pay toward it,” Coleman said, noting that her administration is looking to achieve that across the board with the other employee unions.

“Everybody feels they gave more than they received and when that happens with both sides, you’ve usually got a good contract,” Coleman said. “It was give and take.”

The white-collar unit includes the Parks Department, office clerks, court reporters and secretaries.

The town still has unsettled contracts with its 11-member dispatchers’ union and the police union covering 46 employees. The town and police union are at impasse and in the midst of setting up meetings with a mediator.

email: krobinson@buffnews.com

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