AFSCME contract goes to Duluth City Council for approvalThe city of Duluth appears close to signing a contract with its largest union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 66.
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
The city of Duluth appears close to signing a contract with its largest union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 66.
The local, which represents a little more than 500 municipal employees in Duluth, voted to ratify a tentative agreement Tuesday. The Duluth City Council is expected to take up a resolution approving the agreement on Monday.
The three-year contract provides for a 60-cent increase in hourly wages in 2013 and 2 percent annual raises in each of the following two years.
The 2013 wage increase would be retroactive to the beginning of the year and would equate to an average raise of 2.56 percent, said Peg Spehar, Duluth’s chief financial officer.
She noted that AFSCME employees spent all of 2012 working under the terms of their 2011 contract and essentially went without any across-the-board pay increases that year.
The tentative agreement also calls for hourly differential pay to increase from 75 cents to $1 for people working afternoon shifts, and from $1 to $1.25 for people working night shifts.
The contract would require union members with individual health care coverage to pick up 10 percent of premium costs, beginning in August of this year. The city previously provided complete coverage of premium costs for individuals.
AFSCME members with family coverage through the city would continue to pay 20 percent of the premium cost.
The change in health care cost-sharing would result in a savings of about $600,000 during the three-year-term of the contract, Spehar said.
She said a change in standby staffing requirements with the new contract also would produce substantial savings.
While pay increases will result in an estimated $1.8 million in additional payroll in the next three years, Spehar said that factoring in some of the anticipated savings, the actual cost increase for the city will be more along the lines of $1.1 million during the term of the contract.