The Herald Bulletin

February 24, 2014

City, IBEW reach contract pact

Talks continue with UAW, AFSCME

By Ken de la Bastide The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON – The city administration has reached agreement with one of three local labor unions that have been working under contract extensions for several years.

Wayne Huffman, director of human resources, said the administration of Mayor Kevin Smith reached a new contract agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents workers at Anderson Municipal Light & Power, on a four-year agreement.

The previous contract expired June 30, 2011, and the new agreement runs through June 30, 2015.

Huffman said the agreement provides for a 4 percent salary increase in each of the four years of the contract. He said workers received retroactive pay to July 1, 2011.

IBEW members received approximately $350,000 in retroactive pay.

Huffman said the contract was supposed to have been settled during the final year of the Kris Ockomon administration.

He said the IBEW members will now be covered under the union’s health insurance plan, instead of the city’s policy. The Ockomon administration didn’t consider the IBEW health insurance proposal in 2011, Huffman said.

“The money we saved from the insurance costs went to pay for the raises,” he said. “There was a savings for both the employees and the city.”

The city is currently in negotiations with the United Auto Workers union, which represents employees in the utility office, city hall maintenance, dispatch and Anderson Police Department records, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which represents workers in the street, parks, sewer maintenance and City of Anderson Transit System.

Huffman said the UAW contract, which expired in 2007, has been extended one year at a time. The AFSCME contract expired in 2009.

He wouldn’t comment on whether members of the UAW and AFSCME would also receive an annual 4 percent pay increase under the terms of a new contract.

Employees represented by those two unions could possibly receive retroactive pay as a part of the new labor pact.

“We’re still in negotiations,” Huffman said. “I can’t comment on the negotiations.”

Jeff Shrock, international service representative for the UAW, said union members have been working with a written extension of the existing contract since 2007.

“We’ve been negotiating with the city since December,” he said. “The talks were placed on hold until the state made a decision on the city’s budget.”

Shrock said he hoped an agreement with the city could be reached in March.

“We would like a 4 percent raise for our members,” Shrock said. “The city commented there is no money for the other unions.

“We’re requesting a pay increase for our members. They haven’t had a pay increase for a number of years.”

He said the UAW does have a Voluntary Employee Benefit health insurance plan, but it’s only for retired members.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.

City's union contracts u City of Anderson and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers sign new four-year contract, giving union members annual 4 percent raise and retroactive pay. u UAW members working on contract extension since 2007. Union officials hope to have an agreement by March. u AFSCME members working on extension of 2009 contract. Negotiations with city taking place.