Town, union agree on three-year deal

BEACON FALLS — The town and public works union have come to terms on a new three-year contract.

The contract between the Department of Public Works Union, Local 1303-414 of Council 4 AFSCME, and the town was signed by both parties on Nov. 12.

The contract, which is retroactively effective from July 2015 and runs through June 2018, covers town employees of the wastewater treatment plant and the Street and Parks Department.

The contract covers 10 full-time positions, although only nine of the positions are currently filled.

Under the terms of the contract, employees will receive a 1.5 percent raise this year and a 2.75 percent increase in each of the last two years.

The agreement also decreases the amount of money the town will pay as part of the “buyback” program for employees who do not take the insurance offered by the town.

In 2015 employees will receive $4,000 if they are not part of the town’s insurance. That figure drops to $3,500 in 2016 and to $3,000 in 2017.

First Selectman Christopher Bielik said this decrease is a continuing trend from the previous contract.

Under the contract, employees are a high deductible Health Savings Account from ConnectiCare for health care. The plan has a $2,500 deductible for single people and a $5,000 deductible for married couples.

Employees must work 30 hours a week to be eligible for the plan.

The town also has the options of joining the state workers health care plan or the plan offered by Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect. Bielik said the town will explore every option available to it.

“If that makes economic sense and service sense for both sides, we will certainly look at that as another alternative to the plan that we have in place right now,” Bielik said. “It will give us a lot of flexible options to look at and see what is the best way for us to give the workers that we have a plan that works for them and still have it make financial sense for the town.”

All the town’s bargaining units have the same health care plan, so if a change is made to one it affects them all, Bielik said.

Department of Public Works Union President Tom Carey said the contract is fair for both parties.

“I feel both sides did fairly well. The union is happy and I think the town is, as well,” Carey said.

Editor’s note: The original post incorrectly reported the health care plan employees receive. The story has been updated to reflect the correction.

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