Borough, white collar union agree to contract

NAUGATUCK — The borough and the white collar union have reached terms on a new, four-year contract.

The contract with the United Public Service Employees Union, Local 424 Unit 15 is retroactive to July 1, 2018 and runs through June 30, 2022. The union covers various employees, including clerks and administrative assistants who work in borough departments, the purchasing agent and the part-time assistant animal control officer.

Under the contract, employees received retroactive 2% raises for July 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2018. The contract also provided 1.5% raises, retroactively, for Jan. 1 through June 30 of this year, with the exception of a handful of employees considered grade three who received a 2% raise.

This fiscal year, employees received 2% raises, with the exception of grade three employees who got 1.5% raises, according to the contract. All employees will receive a 2% raise in each of the last two years of the contract.

Human Resources Director John Lawlor said the retroactive wage increase amounted to $36,707. The net cost of the four-year deal is an additional $133,261, he said.

Under the contract, the borough provides a high deductible health plan with a $2,000/$4,000 annual deductible to employees. The cost share for full-time employees is 3% this year, zero in 2020 and 2021, and 1% in 2022. The cost share for part-time employees is 25% this year, 22% in 2020 and 2021, and 23% in 2022.

The borough is paying 25% of the deductible this year, according to the contract, but employees are responsible for 100% of the deductible the next three years.

“It’s a fair contract, and the challenge that we have with their union is to attract and retain highly-talented people in a competitive labor market,” Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said.

Hess said the borough has many excellent, high-level employees. He added officials are making a strong effort to run the borough like a business and be more efficient, and to do so requires retaining employees.

“We want to retain the ones we have because they’re doing very well,” he said.

Local 424 Unit 15 UPSEU President Kelli Sargeant, a secretary with the Naugatuck Fire Department who has worked for the borough for 13 years, said she is delighted with the contract. Sargeant thanked Hess and union Vice President Emily Kausyla for their work on the deal.

“I have never had a better contract nor have I been more satisfied with a contract,” she said. “I am so very pleased with it.”

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses approved the contract, 7-1, during a special meeting June 26. Burgess Jack DeOliveira voted against it, saying he disagreed with language in the contract. The union signed the agreement July 3.