hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


September 19, 2013

City workers up for pay raises

Haverhill works on contracts with 17 employees unions

The City Council is expected to approve the first of 17 new contracts with city labor unions this month.

Mayor James Fiorentini said he has reached agreement with the public works union for a new contract that includes a 3 percent pay raise over two years. The union includes about 20 highway and parks department workers, he said.

Fiorentini said the public works proposal is the model for which other upcoming labor deals will be based, including annual 1.5 percent cost-of-living pay increases.

“It’s a fair deal that includes a COLA increase and no health insurance changes,” the mayor said, referring to the cost-of-living adjustment.

The proposal covers the prior fiscal year and the current one that expires next summer. The council is expected to consider the contract at its Sept. 24 meeting.

Fiorentini said every contract between the city and its unions expired about a year ago, except for the firefighters’ contract. That deal has about a year left, he said.

The new public works agreement removes language from the former contract that would have paid workers a 2 percent bonus if the city joined the state health care system known as the Group Insurance Plan.

The mayor said the city might eventually join the state plan, but that union approval is no longer needed due to a new state law.

In the last round of contract talks, city unions agreed to health insurance concessions that the mayor said has saved the city $2.5 million in the last three years. There are no changes to the current health insurance offerings in the new public works contract, he said.

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