The police union approved a new three-year contract Monday night in a 20-2 vote. The contract now goes before the Town Council for a vote Jan. 28. The contract gives no raise the first year, a 2 percent raise in year two, and a 3 percent raise in year three.
The police union is the first of the town’s three unions to settle a contract. Contracts for all three unions expired at the end of the last fiscal year – June 30, 2012 – so this new police contract, if approved by the Council, will be retroactive to July 1, 2012.
Lieutenant Stanley "Skip" Cirella, the union representative for the police, said negotiations with the town began a year ago. “It is definitely a process that takes time,” he said. “As usual we do hope to complete negotiations prior to the old contract expiring but it was not the case this time.”
According to Town Manager Bill Sequino, the union representing office workers will be the next to be voted on. He said he expects the laborers union will be settled last.
The big issue for all three unions, according to both sides, is health care.
“Healthcare is always a major issue,” said Cirella.
Town Building Official John Hoyle, union representative for the office workers, said the council wanted to get all the town workers under the same health care plan. “The Council has been “adamant” on this, he said.
Workers have been under different health plans depending on when they were hired. Some workers who’ve been here the longest have had no co-pay at all, while others are paying 20 percent in co-pays.
Under the new plan, which the police have agreed to, everyone would be in what’s known as a “high deductible” plan. For an individual, that means they would pay out of pocket up to $2,000 for medical visits and prescription medications, and the town kicking in half ($1,000). For a family, that deductible is $4,000, with the town paying $2,000.
After reaching the deductible, a person would then have most services covered with no co-pay.
Other details of the police contract were not made public pending approval by the Town Council.