New deal means raises for Middletown public works employees

Middletown and its public works union represented by AFSCME Local 856 have reached a new three-year contract. FILE PHOTO A Middletown street crew worked in frigid temperatures Friday morning to repair a section of Ohio 122/Roosevelt Boulevard. ED RICHTER/STAFF
Middletown and its public works union represented by AFSCME Local 856 have reached a new three-year contract. FILE PHOTO A Middletown street crew worked in frigid temperatures Friday morning to repair a section of Ohio 122/Roosevelt Boulevard. ED RICHTER/STAFF

Middletown’s public works employees have a new three-year contract.

City Council on Tuesday approved the new collective bargaining agreement for the public works employees represented by AFSCME Local 856.

The union represents 48 public works employees, according to Susan Cohen, administrative services director.

City officials said the new contract had been under negotiation since early summer. Officials said the city and the union completed some negotiations and engaged the services of a mediator to attempt to resolve the issues.

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In addition to wage increases during the life of the contract, which is retroactive to July 1, 2019 and runs through June 30, 2022, it includes changes to clothing and tool allowances; compensatory time, funeral and vacation leave; and a signing bonus.

Other key changes include:

  • A 2.5 percent wage increase in each year of the contract and bonus payments in the first two years.
  • A new wage scale that extends the number of steps per employee and reduces the amount of increase per step.
  • An adjustment to the number of annual vacation days based on longevity as well as for first year employees which will be pro-rated depending on the month an employee was hired.
  • Funeral leave amounts of up to five days for the death of a parent, spouse or child and up to three days for the immediate family.
  • Increasing the annual clothing allowance from $500 to $600 that will be payable in two installments each year.
  • New employees will receive a clothing allowance of $150 after completing 90 days on the job.
  • City will reimburse public works employees for the cost of renewing their Commercial Drivers License.
  • Increasing the auto mechanic tool allowance from $500 to $600 per year, and additional allowances for maintaining ASE certifications.
  • Contract signing bonus of $500 per member at the start of the contract and another $500 per member around July 1, 2020.
  • Amended policies on transferring sick leave to other employees and updated language regarding the use of the catastrophic sick leave bank.