The Town Council will hold a public hearing on a proposed contract for Teamsters Local #633, a union representing public works employees, after a resident presented a petition to allow the citizens to vote on the collective bargaining agreement.
Former Town Councilor Kevin Coyle presented the petition at the May 14 Council meeting.
Teamsters Local 633 represents employees in the Buildings and Grounds, Highway, Parks, Transfer Station, Vehicle Maintenance, Water and Wastewater divisions.
According to a memo from Human Resources Director Lawrence Budreau, a tentative agreement between the town and the union was reached April 12. It was scheduled to be approved by Councilors at the May 14 meeting. Coyle said, “Not allowing the public to vote on contracts concerns me.” He said the Council had done it both ways in the past. Under the former chairman Brad Benson, the contracts were approved by the Council, but previous chairmen allowed them to go out to vote, Coyle said.
Coyle’s petition read, “Pursuant to Section 3.1 of the Derry Town Charter, the undersigned do hereby request that the Derry Town Council allow the citizens of Derry to vote on the proposed collective bargaining agreement between the Town of Derry and Teamsters Local 633. The Town Council has the power under Section 3.4 of the Charter to pass on any proposed measure to the voters.”
Coyle suggested the vote could be done at minimal cost to the town if combined with the special election June 25 held by the Derry Cooperative School District to vote on its paraprofessionals’ contract.
The Council voted 6-1 to allow the vote, with Benson the dissenting vote.
Councilor Neil Wetherbee made a motion that a public hearing be scheduled for residents to discuss the contract, and Councilors agreed to ask John Anderson to place it on the Consent Agenda. Coyle also requested that Chairman Michael Fairbanks not vote on the contract, as his son is an employee of the Recreation Department. But Wetherbee said he did not see a conflict of interest, and Fairbanks pointed out that his son was not in this collective bargaining unit but in the Support Staff bargaining unit.
Highlights of the contract include:
• Wage increases over three years of 1.5 percent, 1.25 percent and 1.4 percent respectively, plus a 1 percent increase on the final day of the contract.
• Sick leave pool has been eliminated.
• Employee contribution to health insurance premiums will increase from the current 3.8 percent to 10 percent in July 2013, 12 percent in July 2014 and 14 percent in July 2015.
• A guarantee that health and dental insurance premiums cannot increase more than 8 percent per year in 2014 and 2015.
• Obligation to provide fully paid health insurance in case of disability reduced from four years to three and one half years.
• Signing bonus for employees in single insurance coverage for $586 in June 2013, two-person plan, $1,230 signing bonus, family plan, $1,465 signing bonus to offset the increase in plan contributions in FY 14.
The tentative agreement is available on the town website at www.derry.nh.us.