A deliberative session on two collective bargaining agreements to be voted on in a Sept. 13 Special Town Meeting passed voters Monday night with little deliberation.
The deliberative session was held in the Moose Hill Conference Room prior to the Aug. 15 Town Council meeting. The Council voted unanimously to move both articles to the ballot.
Article 1 asks the town to vote to approve the cost items in a new contract for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Council 93, of town administrative personnel, while Article 2 asks the town to vote to approve the new contract for AFSCME, Local 1801, for the Town Clerk’s staff and Public Works employees.
Town Manager Kevin Smith explained that both unions’ contracts expired in July 2015. According to Smith, the proposed contracts would benefit the town because a new health plan would be part of the agreement, and that plan would save the town an estimated $71,000 and save union members $96,000. However, Smith said, the enrollment period for the health plan ends Jan. 1, 2017, and the Town Meeting vote is not until March, so the town petitioned the state to have a special meeting to vote on the contracts. They were approved under the “emergency” clause, Smith said.
There were no speakers in a public hearing July 21, and the Council unanimously approved moving the items to the warrant.
The articles read as follows:
Article 1. To see if the Town will vote to approve the cost items included in the collective bargaining agreement reached between the Town of Londonderry and AFSCME, Council 93 (LAEA-Unit B-Town Administrative Personnel), which calls for the following appropriations for salaries and benefits over what was raised under the current agreement and policies for the employees of the Union: First year, FY 17, $42,905, .01 on tax rate, average 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase; second year, $26,947 decrease; third year, $9,286 decrease; and final year, $12,923 decrease.
The contract includes 12 “middle manager” administrative employees at the Town Hall, according to Smith, and has been approved by both the Town Council and Budget Committee.
Article 2. To see if the Town will vote to approve the cost items included in the collective bargaining agreement reached between the Town of Londonderry and AFCSME Local 1801, which calls for the following appropriations for salaries and benefits over what was raised under the current agreement and policies for the employees of the Union: First year, FY 17, $51,114, $.01 on tax rate, 1.5 percent average cost-of-living increase, second year, $22.012 decrease; third year, $3,389 decrease; and fourth and final year, $7,083 decrease.
This collective bargaining unit includes members of the Town Clerk’s staff and Public Works employees.
Resident Mary Wing Soares asked for clarification on the decreases, and Smith said by reconfiguring the health care and going to the Lumenos plan, it would save the town money each year, and still allow for the cost-of-living increases.
“Are they paying more out of pocket?” Soares asked.
No, Smith said, adding, “The coverage is the same with both plans. The HSA (Health Savings Account) costs less because it’s an HSA.”
Both items were approved by both the Council and Budget Committee. Jay Hooley, chairman of the Budget Committee, said his committee voted 4-1 for each of the contracts.
Soares asked to restrict a motion for reconsideration on both contracts and the voters present approved it with their lifted voter cards.
Voting on the two contracts will be Sept. 13 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Londonderry High School gym, in conjunction with the primary elections. A new traffic plan is being configured for this and the General Election (see related story page 1).