2012-07-05 / Front Page
Swartz Creek works out agreements with union
SWARTZ CREEK — The City of Swartz Creek reached a collective bargaining agreement with the Swartz Creek City Employees Union, AFSCME 1918-23, the union for all DPW employees and city administrative assistants.
The two sides came to terms on a four year agreement, with the new agreement beginning July 1, 2012 and running through June 30, 2016.
Swartz Creek city manager Paul Bueche said the deal came together real fast, with negotiations lasting for about three weeks.
“It was settled in record time,” he said. “Both sides sat down in good faith and resolved the issues.”
Bueche added previous negotiations in prior years have lasted between 6-8 months.
The main issue resolved in this deal was the rate of pay increases for the employees. The agreement features a 1.5 percent increase in pay for the first two yearsofthedeal,witha2percentincreaseinthe third year.
The rate of pay increase for the final year was left open as both sides will negotiate these terms at a later date.
Bueche said the numbers work out in a way that the average city employee covered by the agreement will earn an additional $400 per year for the pay increase during the first year of the contract. That means the city is on the hook for additional wages for about $15 per week for each employee.
Bueche pointed out that this is not very much money.
“It doesn’t even cover the cost of living,” he said.
Bueche added the additional wages were not a make or break situation for the city’s budget.
“Our problems go beyond that,” he said.
The rest of the new collective bargaining agreement was substantially similar to the prior agreement.
“The changes are very, very minimal,” Bueche said.
This deal comes on the heels of an agreement that the city reached with the Police Officers Labor Council (POLC), the union for the city’s police officers, on April 30. The POLC agreement mirrors the deal for pay raises that was reached with AFSCME 1918-23.
Before the new agreements were reached, the labor contract for the DPW employees and city administrative assistants had been frozen since July of 2008, while the labor contract for the police officers had been frozen since January of 2009.
A frozen contract meant there were no pay increases for the city employees during that period.
“There were no changes, no rate increases, no nothing,” Bueche said.
The City of Swartz Creek still has to negotiate terms with the union for the city’s supervisors. Their labor contract has been frozen since July of 2007.
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