December 3, 2008

Union pact approved for City Hall workers

City councilors approved a new two-year contract for the union that represents most City Hall workers that provides 3 percent annual raises and introduces employee cost-sharing on health insurance for the first time.

The council voted 6-1 in favor of the deal with Local 233 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, with the sole opposition coming from freshman Republican Ken Cockayne.

The pact, which is retroactive to July 2007, requires workers to pay 4 percent of their health insurance premiums until next July, when they’ll be required to cover 5 percent of the tab.

That’s less than the police union agreed to pay in a deal approved a year ago that hiked the percentage officers have to pay to 8.5 percent of the total by 2010, the highest figure that any city union outside the school system has to shell out.

Cockayne said that he couldn’t support the new agreement with City Hall workers because they got a better deal than the police, a pact he also opposed because he wanted officers to pay at least 10 percent of their health care tab.

The city’s police and firefighters should have best contracts “since they’re putting their lives on the line,” Cockayne said, but instead the city’s office workers are making out best.

The head of Local 233, Mayra Sampson, is a former city Democratic Party chair and a longtime supporter of Mayor Art Ward.

Ward said that he’s pleased that the union is going to pay a portion of its health care bill for the first time.

The mayor said, too, that the deal amounts to about $300 to $400 extra a year for the average employee. He said it represents “no great gains on either side” when compared to what government employees in neighboring towns are getting.

“It’s within reason,” said Ward.

Cockayne said, however, that Bristol’s health care costs haring for employees “is way under our neighboring towns and it’s my duty as a councilman to do the best that I can for the taxpayers of this city” so he voted against the pact.

Cockayne said supporters of the contract terms said the city made inroads by getting the union to pay anything for health care. He said that it should have been more and that it’s not his fault that earlier deals were so generous to the union.

 “Past administrations have not given away the kitchen sink. They’ve given away the whole kitchen,” Cockayne said.

He said that in today’s struggling economy, when so many families in Bristol are living paycheck to paycheck at best, it’s not fair to ask them for more tax money to provide such generous contracts.

 “How can we expect them to keep picking up the tab?” Cockayne asked.

*******

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ken, I agree with you 100 percent! It is too bad others on the Council aren't watching the taxpayers' money.

Anonymous said...

5%! Unionite 95% Tax payers. Gee Myra and Art negotiating...sounds more like a love fest.

A least we have one councilman who understands that tax payers are straped and deserve a break.

In todays economy what nerve this Myra person has even asking for salary increases.How cold and un caring.

Curious George said...

What does BPSA pay?

Anonymous said...

This is only a 2 year contract and they are already well into the 1st year of it. That means negotiations will restart almost immediately for the next contract. The police got a 4 year deal. My guess is 233 will be paying at least 8.5% if not more by the end 2012.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the cops get much higher raises? How did they make out worse?

Anonymous said...

ken please run for major this council is a joke ward is a joke. my husband is a custodian for boe for 27 years he works a hell of alot harder then the people at city hall. no raises for anyone these days.

Anonymous said...

Once again clowns like Cockayne still don't get it. If people don't have any money HE don't survive.
Nor anyone like him that uses other peoples money because he won't use his own.

Anonymous said...

Again Cockayne is spouting off.

We in BPSA agreed to more co-pay than that in the last contract.

He should get the facts before mouthing off.

Anonymous said...

there's big ken, trying to snooker the taxpayers after almost sticking them with a $300,000 coo-coo bill. good try carrot top but you can't have it both ways snook-um.

Anonymous said...

5:20 - so if your husband gets a raise, are you gonna give it back? boy, does cockayne have you snookered or what?

truth seeker said...

hey, ask cockayne if he raised his rates this year? has his pay gone up in the last year? has he said anything about lowering his rates or his commissions so that his loyal customers get a break? pretty deceiving and one-sided (agasin)kenny-boy.

Anonymous said...

Truth Seeker,

The difference with consumers in the private sector is that we can go to who ever we want to get the best deal. As taxpayers we are stuck with one vendor and the unions know it. They hold us hostage. Maybe we should use your logic in comparing the public sector to the private sector, then we can put services out to bid and get the best deal possible. I wouldn't support that extreme, but I just wanted to point out how flawed your argument is.

Say what you want about Ken, but he didn't say anything too bad regarding his vote. He didn't support the police contracts, so why would he support these contracts? These contracts give an even better deal to city hall workers then our police and firemen get. These contracts need to come into line with reality and common sense. Police and Fire deserve the best given that they are hazardous duty, the rest should come in line behind them.

Anonymous said...

What the Unions are doing is sticking it to the tax payer in the city of Bristol! This new contract does nothing for the tax payer. First, there should have been no raises for now. Second, they should be paying more in health care..If they don't like it go work for someone else. This Union crap is for the birds. I work for one of the big Health Insurance companies in Hartford and I pay over a thousand dollars a year(my own money) for my Health Insurance and its not even an HMO that has a co-pay - because they don't offer the HMO to their employees! And my plan is for a single person without a family! And don't get me started on the dental plan! The City needs to get a back bone and start standing up to the Unions because the times are changing and its only going to get worse! Remember something is better then nothing!

Anonymous said...

Why did Ward say he had a conflict of interests with his wife working at the BOE, however he doesn't have a conflict negotiating with Myra who was his campaign treasure??

I'd love to hear Wards answer to this one!

Anonymous said...

Great Team!

Ward and Sampson!

Do either of them do any work for the city?

Does that mean Myra will work even harder for Wards reelection next time?

Curious George said...

Someone said that they got 4%.

Is that true?

How can I find out?

Anonymous said...

How is this within reason? I'm about to lose my job, ut I have to pay to give raises to city workers? I will be collecting unemployment, while the city workers get raises? I will be paying for cobra for my insurance, for a little while, and the city workers will have to do some cost sharing.... What was it Mayro Ward $300 - $400?

I hated Cockayne up until last night. I work in a shop and we are union, but screw this! Ward has got to go along with the rest of them. Cockayne for Mayor!!

Anonymous said...

Cockayne is one of the reasons that Ward is mayor!

Odin said...

"How is this within reason? I'm about to lose my job, but I have to pay to give raises to city workers?"

Not sure I follow your reasoning. The cost of living has gone up over 5% since last year. Bristol can easily afford a 3% pay increase for these clerical and blue collar workers (Glenn Klocko has money hidden in places that even HE doesn't know about), and if we went to arbitration we'd probably lose. You're about to lose your job because, I take it, your company is not selling as many widgets as it used to. How is this Myra Berrios' fault, and why should she take the hit for it? Yeah, they should have gotten a higher co-pay than just 4%, but Local 233 members on average have the lowest salaries, a lot lower than the police who settled for a 5% co-pay in the first year of their new contract.

BPSA has a 7.5% co-pay.

Anonymous said...

6:21 Poster,

Please explain what you mean when you say Cockayne "uses other peoples money because he won't use his own". I don't understand whay you mean. Is there something we should know?
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Odin,

Because the Local 233 has lower salaries does that mean the Insurance company charges less for there premium? Of course not! With the lower cost sharing that means the City----TAXPAYERS, pay more to insure them!

How did Ward negotiate with Myra when she was his Campaign Treasure? This sounds like a HUGE conflict!

Anonymous said...

Hey Odin - listen the city should not be the security blanket for City Hall workers and their families. I agree if you do a good job you should be rewarded. But, if other big business in and around the area are not giving their employees 3% increases because of these trying times - why in the hell should the City be giving pay increases at this time. The City should also start looking at other Medical plans for all city workers where the employees have to pay out more in regards to Co-insurance and Deductibles. The HMO that the city provides is hurting the city. Its time the employees start to control the cost not the city AKA "the tax payer"

Howdy Doody said...

Thank you Artie Ward!!!!

Odin said...

"Because the Local 233 has lower salaries does that mean the Insurance company charges less for there premium? Of course not!"

My point is that shelling out $700 per year for health insurance hits the guy who earns $30,000 a year a lot harder than the guy who earns $60,000 a year. If your attitude is "so what", I'm glad you aren't on the City Council.

C. Dickens said...

Christmas came early for Mayra and her buddies, thanks to Santa Ward.

looking for hope said...

these types of contract situations need to consider the costs of arbitration and the potential of the proposals being decided in the unions favor by the arbitrator before spouting off cockayne. again sounding off, like you know what you are talking about and actually knowing nothing doesn't serve the public interest, only your own political agenda.
give everyone an early christmas present, kick up your heels and
ride off into the sunset.

Anonymous said...

again boo ho, like the city hall workers are the only ones with pay check to paycheck living. Have you looked at the manufacturing sector lately? Some of them don't even have a paycheck.