Contracts in place for new unions in Prospect

PROSPECT — The town has officially entered into contracts with two of its three new unions.

The United Public Service Employees Union, unit 115, Prospect Municipal Employees, and Unit 116, Prospect Supervisors both signed a three-year agreement with the town in May.

The two unions cover employees and supervisors in Town Hall, the senior center, the firehouse, the library, and the community center. The contracts are retroactive to July 1, 2017 and run through June 30, 2020.

Until last year, the town’s only union, which has existed for around 20 years, was the public works union. Now, all employees, other than part-time seasonal workers, belong to one of four unions. Police officers also formed a union.

Mayor Robert Chatfield said it took a while to finalize the contracts because the unions are new.

“Next time around all that stuff is set,” Chatfield said.

Creating the contracts cost about $40,000 in legal fees, Chatfield said.

Under the contracts, employees and supervisors will receive a 3 percent wage increase in the first year.

Chatfield said the Town Council previously approved that raise as part of the budget as a show of good-faith bargaining and so the town didn’t have to pay back pay when the contracts were set.

Under the contracts, employees will receive 2.75 percent raises in each of the last two years of the deal.

Prospect switched its health insurance to the Connecticut State Partnership Plan last fiscal year.

According to the contracts, employees will contribute 14 percent of the premium cost of the insurance in the first year. Employee contributions rise to 14.5 percent on July 1, 2018 and 15 percent on July 1, 2019.

A new contract for the public works was approved last August. The town is still in negotiations with the police union. Chatfield said there are more details in writing a contract for the police union.

“All the employees are very dedicated. Many of them are longtime employees. Things run very smooth when people have tenure and know what’s going on when they come across the problems they have faced in their daily jobs for years,” Chatfield said.

Assistant Tax Collector Anne Marie Burr, who is president of the employees union, was pleased to officially have a contract in place.

“The mayor has always been very fair and generous with the employees,” Burr said. “Now it’s in writing.”