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Vetoed Water Works labor pact returns to aldermen

New Hampshire Union Leader

March 04. 2018 11:11PM

MANCHESTER — City aldermen are expected to discuss a new labor contract with Water Works personnel Tuesday, after a proposed deal with the union was vetoed last fall by former Mayor Ted Gatsas.

The full Board of Mayor and Aldermen is scheduled to take up the tentative agreement between Manchester Water Works and United Steelworkers 8938 when it meets Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.

If ratified, the contract would lay over for two weeks until the next meeting of the full board, at which time a final vote will be taken.

The tentative agreement, a copy of which was provided to city aldermen ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, shows a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase of one percent in FY 2018, with no retroactive pay.

According to a cost analysis by the city finance department, assuming the contract is ratified prior to April 1, the deal would cost the city an additional $55,770 in salaries and benefits in FY 2018, while tacking on an additional $6,011 in standby pay and $2,213 in additional night shift differential pay.

In all, the proposed contract would result in $68,831 in additional costs for the remainder of FY 2018, from April 1 through June 30.

The contract includes changes to standby pay, as well as vacation accrual policies. Accrual for two calendar weeks of vacation time would begin on the date of hire, with accrual of three calendar weeks beginning at six years of continuous service. Four calendar weeks would begin after 10 years of continuous service, five weeks after 15 years, and six weeks after 20 years.

The tentative agreement proposed last September between Manchester Water Works and United Steelworkers 8938 contained two percent cost-of-living raises for fiscal years 2018 and 2019, along with a one percent cost-of-living raise retroactive to fiscal year 2017.

That contract proposal passed on an 8-3 vote, with former Mayor Gatsas vetoing the agreement, saying he disagreed with retroactive pay going back to fiscal year 2017.

“It’s an awful precedent to set as a city,” Gatsas said at the time. “I don’t think it’s fair to the other city employees. We have never gone back a full year. Maybe five or six months, but never a full year.”

At the time, Alderman At Large Dan O’Neil moved to override the veto, but his motion failed to generate the needed 10 votes. The move to override failed, 8-3.

Labor Manchester Local and County Government

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