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Highway workers, Marilla reach pact

The Town of Marilla and its highway employees have reached a labor agreement for 2010 that follows the employees' aborted attempt to unionize.

Under the agreement, the employees will get a 3 percent salary increase, an additional $100 for safety equipment bringing their yearly total for equipment per person to $600 and adjustments to their health care plan.

The deal is expected to be officially approved April 8 during a regular Town Board meeting.

Town Supervisor George Gertz said salary increases will be the same as if they had never decided to form a union.

Late last year, the employees informed the town they wanted the Teamsters to represent them. At that point, the salary increase they might have received was left out of the town budget.

A union vote was scheduled for Feb. 18, but that never happened after the town was told in a letter from the Teamsters that it did not want to represent the employees. At that point Gertz said he immediately contacted the four employees to begin contract talks.

Gertz said the negotiations, which concluded this week, "went smoothly."

Negotiations resulted in the employees being offered the same health care coverage from Community Blue, but with higher deductibles for use of emergency room and hospital co-pays.

With those changes, the monthly health care cost paid to Community Blue by the town per employee will be $342 for a single person and $950 for a family plan. The charges were scheduled to be $480 and $1,331, respectively, as of April 1, before the changes.

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