JAMESTOWN – The city of Jamestown has new contracts in place for its two public safety unions.
During the final city council meeting of the year on Monday Night, Jamestown City Councilman and Finance Committee chairman Tony Dolce announced that the city had reached a collective bargaining agreement with its police (Kendell Club) and fire unions. Dolce said both agreements would be retroactive to the start of 2012 and will remain in place until December 31, 2015.
Under the terms of both agreements, the city will give policeman and fireman in both unions a retroactive salary increase of 2 percent for 2012. There will be no increase for 2013. In 2014, members of both unions will see a 2.75 percent increase, with that same raise scheduled for 2015. Combined over the four years, the total salary increase would be just under 7.7 percent. Under the terms of the contract, a policeman or fireman who was making $60,000 a year in 2011 will see his/her salary at $64,600 in 2015.
The new contracts also call for the employees to cover 17 percent of their healthcare premiums – a 1 percent increase from the previous contract. The contracts also include the implementation of a wellness program for the employees, which will help to reduce total healthcare costs.
Dolce credited Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi and his staff for being able to finalize the contract without the need to go to binding arbitration, which he said would have more than likely ended up costing the city more money. “I want to thank the mayor and his staff, as well as the members of the union, who negotiated,” Dolce said. “As you know, both those unions having under the state’s Taylor Law, the ability to go to binding arbitration. The fact that we didn’t have to go that route and the fact that they gave a number of concessions certainly helped.”
“It was a long way between where we started and where we ended up,” he added. “We’re happy. Not every body gets everything they want but certainly its always good when you can work it out.”
City Council President Greg Rabb was also pleased to see the increase, saying the agreement sets a precedent for negotiations with the city’s other bargaining units.
“Those are significant contracts that set the tone for our other negotiations, so its good to have that done – as councilwoman [Marie] Karrubba pointed out – through negotiations rather than arbitration,” Rabb explained. “So its a good deal for the city and I think its a good deal for the workers or they wouldn’t have voted for it. It’s a happy outcome.”
Rabb says the city still has to finalize contracts for the unions representing city DPW workers and city clerical workers.
The new contracts were both approved unanimously by the council. The city police contract received a vote of 7-0, while the city fire contract received a vote of 6-0 with city councilwoman at-large Kim Ecklund recusing herself from the vote due to a conflict of interest. Both outgoing city council members Stephen Szwejbka of Ward 1 and Ward 3 councilman Michael Taylor were absent from the meeting.