Town reaches accord with unions on furlough days

Beacon Falls Town Hall

BEACON FALLS — The town agreed to give union employees eight furlough days this year, rather than the 10 previously suggested after First Selectman Susan Cable met with leaders from the town’s three unions Monday and Tuesday to work out differences.

“We believe everything is resolved right now,” said town hall union leader June Chadderton.

The Board of Selectman originally approved 10 furlough days to fill a hole in the town budget after unions didn’t agree to a wage freeze and changes in longevity pay.

Council 4 American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) previously filed a complaint on behalf of the town’s three unions stating that that the town “interfered with, restrained and coerced employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed” under the Municipal Employee Relations Act.

Union leaders contended the town could not unilaterally institute furlough days under the union contract, a position the town disagreed with.

This year’s adopted budget includes $32,653 in savings by denying contractual wage increases and about $10,000 in savings from eliminating longevity pay. The board agreed that 10 days, which equals $41,355 in labor savings, would cover the gap for both wage increases and longevity pay it had asked unions to give up.

Under the new agreement, town union employees will receive eight furlough days, which zeros out the amount they will be receiving in wage increases, Cable said.

In addition, the town agreed to several stipulations, such as that the furlough days can’t be scheduled on a holiday and that if an employee is called in to work on a furlough day and declines to come in, he or she won’t be disciplined, Cable said.

“We agreed. And that’s it. And we’re moving forward,” Cable said.