Statement read by city Councilor Kevin McCauley at tonight's City Council session about the proposed deal with Local 233:
As many know, I took considerable heat on my position last week to postpone the vote on this Tentative Agreement for one week. After having a week to review the documents that contain some major changes in the contract, I am more than happy to state that I believe we made the right decision.
Last week, we were given the Comparison Document two days before the special meeting. Upon reviewing it, I knew, in my experience as both a union member and a City Council member, that this document would require more than 48 hours of consideration and analysis before I felt comfortable to render a decision on the ratification of it.
The two-page Comparison Document is extremely complex. It includes highly technical and specialized legal and tax language, the implications of which would take time to fully consider.
This is a very difficult contract and tough to comprehend, both from a management standpoint and I am sure from a member’s standpoint. I think that Local 233's membership, along with the skillful negotiating of their leadership, should be commended for the fact that they are willing to take a reduction in pay, give back vacation days when it comes to doing their retirement calculation, not demand any code increases, nor take any step increases. But most of all, the major change with regard to the pension policy in agreeing to pay for a portion of their own post-employment healthcare benefits deserves our gratitude.
In fact, this pension policy change gives the City of Bristol the precedent and ability to negotiate with all other City unions and secure the same concessions. Essentially, Local 233 has now provided the City with the key to open the door to fully implementing a GASB 45 plan.
The Tentative Agreement also establishes a City pension “prerogative” that is not subject to grievance or arbitration procedure, and may set precedents that will give the City an upper hand in securing similar concessions in future negotiations with other City unions.
I want to thank the membership of 233 and their leadership for their efforts during the negotiations, and the efforts by the City negotiating team. By working together, the City and 233 clearly did a good job in saving taxpayer dollars in the future by giving unprecedented concessions and not demanding anything in return from the City.
The Tentative Agreement was approved by Local 233 membership and represents the will of the majority of Local 233’s members, and I will vote to ratify it because of their vote, and because of the benefits it provides to the City.
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