Massena, highway department union reach four-year deal
By ANDY GARDNER
MASSENA -- The Town Council unanimously agreed to a four-year contract with the Teamsters Local 687 to cover the town Highway Department’s eight employees on Wednesday night.
Town Supervisor Joseph Gray said the deal is good news for both parties.“The significant savings on the choice of (health) insurance plans will more than offset the salary increases,” he said.
The new coverage is a high-deductible health reimbursement account through the New York State Teamsters Council Health and Hospital Fund; Gray said it should cut back $2,500 per employee per year, a total of $80,000 over the course of the contract.
The fund sets up a health account that can be used only for medical expenses that rolls over annually until the employee turns 65 years old.
“We believe, and I think they agree, that it’s actually better (than the current plan),” Gray said. “Co-pays and deductibles … won’t come out of the pocket.”
Per the new contact, employees will get a $.55 per hour raise the first year, then $.50 per hour each subsequent year. New employees will start at $3 per hour beneath their position’s full salary, working up to the job rate in annual $.75 per hour increments over four years.
Motor equipment operators’ full pay rate will be $22.19 per hour, but for the first three years they will get $2.10 less. When the highway superintendent determines a motor equipment operator is performing mechanical duties, their rate will go up $.75 per hour for as long as that job takes.
Laborers on shift work between December and March will get an extra $.65 per hour, allowing the department to plow the roads around the clock.