Selectmen approve public works contract

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BEACON FALLS — The Board of Selectmen has agreed to a new three-year contract with public works employees.

The board approved the contract Monday night with Local 1303-414 of Council 4 AFSCME, which represents workers in the Public Works Department.

The contract retroactively starts on July 1 of this year, and goes through June 30, 2015. It affects 10 employees in the department.

First Selectman Gerard Smith said that he pleased with how the contract bargaining went. “We got most of what we could get,” Smith said.

He explained the biggest change was in the pay increases for employees.

This year employees will not receive an increase. In 2013 they will receive a 2 percent pay increase, and in 2014 they will receive a 2.5 percent pay increase.

The other area that changed, Smith explained, was the summer hours. According to the previous contract, from April 15 through October 15, the public works hours changed to 6:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.

This contract changes it back to the regular hours of 7 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

“We got rid of the summer hours because they sat around for an hour because they couldn’t run any of the equipment,” Smith said.

Other changes include combining two holidays, Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday, into President’s Day and a $25 increase in the amount an employee can be reimbursed for safety shoes and clothing.

According to the contract, town and public works bargaining units can reopen the negotiations for the medical plan, including the employees cost share premium contributions, beginning July 1, 2014.