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Norwich and City Hall workers reach contract agreement

By Claire Bessette

Publication: theday.com

Published March 19. 2013 11:00AM   Updated March 19. 2013 11:47PM

Norwich – The City Council and the union representing 57 City Hall workers have reached an agreement on a three-year contract dating back to last July that provides raises of 2 percent per year and changes to insurance and sick time benefits.

The City Council unanimously approved the contract Monday night, and the members of AFSCME Local 2422 have ratified the agreement, union officials said.

Brigid Marks, city human resources director, said the first year raises became effective Aug. 1, saving the city one month of pay increases. The raises will cost the city $52,000 the first year and slightly more each of the following two years, she said.

Health insurance premiums for union members will drop in the first year of the contract by 1.5 percent and then will increase over the following two years to return to the current rate of 13.5 percent.

The contract also reduces some benefits for hires as of Feb. 1 of this year. Those employees would not receive health insurance coverage upon retirement and would be eligible for payment of up to 50 days of accrued unused sick time – half the number for current employees.

Local 2422 President Angelo Callis called it "a fair agreement," but said negotiations were difficult. He said the city initially filed for arbitration over the union's objections, but the two parties were able to reach a settlement without needing arbitration.

Marks said another contract provision removed the city manager's executive secretary's position from the union. Marks said the person in the position at times deals with confidential personnel matters, so the agreement makes the position a non-union position, similar to staff in the Human Resources Department.

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