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Middlebury municipal workers agree to new pact

MIDDLEBURY — The union representing 38 of Middlebury’s municipal workers has inked a new pact with the town that will assure members wage increases of 2.5 percent, 3 percent and 3 percent, respectively, during each of the next three years.
The three-year pact also requires workers to pick up a slightly greater share of their health care premiums.
“I think it’s a good contract that is beneficial to the union and management,” said Victor LaBerge, a Middlebury water system maintainer and chapter chair of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1201.
The union’s previous three-year pact with the town expired on June 30. Negotiations on a new deal began in January. LaBerge said that after a slow start, talks became particularly productive during the past few months.
Middlebury Town Manager Kathleen Ramsay was also pleased with the end result.
“The negotiating process had an open and productive dialogue and we came to an understanding of some of the concerns employees were having, and we clarified some contract language,” Ramsay said. “It resulted in a fair contract for both sides.”
It’s a pact that covers a majority of municipal workers in the police, wastewater, water, recreation and municipal building settings. Around a dozen eligible workers have chosen not to be part of the union.
In addition to the aforementioned annual raises, the new contract calls for:
• Workers covered under the town’s individual health care plan to pay 12 percent of their premiums during the final two years of the contract. They will pay 11 percent of those premiums during the first year. Those covered under a two-person plan will pay 16 percent of their premiums during the final two years, compared to 15 percent in year one. And those covered under a family plan will pay 16 percent of their premiums during the final two years, compared to 15 percent this year.
• The town to “issue a purchase order for up to $225 per year for the purchase of work boots with safety toes.”
• A wage differential of 65 cents per hour for police employees who work the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift, and a differential of $1 per hour for those who work the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift.
• A wage differential of 65 cents per hour for non-police employees who work overtime (that is, between the hours of 3:30 p.m. and 7 a.m.). There is the following caveat: “This wage differential shall not be paid for any hours for which the employee is eligible to receive payment at an overtime premium rate.”
LaBerge said the union is willing to begin negotiations earlier for the next pact in an effort to make for a smoother process.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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