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City, union come to terms on contract

Contract — Employees get a 3 percent cost of living adjustment retroactive to Jan. 1; 2 percent increases set for second and third years of contracts

The city of Newberg reached an accord last week with the union representing its public works employees.

The contract talks began in August and concluded in November, according to materials presented to the City Council in both executive session and open session Jan. 5. The council adopted the contract 6-1 at that meeting.

The three-year contract, which is retroactive to Jan. 1 and continues through December 2017, gives the workers a 3 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) the first year, with 2 percent COLAs the second and third years. The contract, according to city documents, was ratified by the public works employees in November and carried to the city by the union representing them, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

There were other stipulations of the contract that were approved by the council as well, including 16 hours per month of accrued vacation time for employees of 25-plus years, longevity pay via a deferred compensation account that gives $150 a month to those employed by the city for 25-plus years, an increase in the boot/shoe allowance from $125 to $200 annually, creation of a flexible spending account for part-time employees, $50 per day for employees that must be on stand-by during holidays, and a line item that allows employees who are within five years of retirement to meet with a retirement plan representative for one 60-minute meeting.

Due to decreases in insurance rates and two union employees moving to supervisory positions, the city will actually save $217,707 in the first year of the contract despite the increased COLAs. In the second year, however, the city will pay an additional $89,028 under the contract and will see a $101,682 increase in the third year. Overall union payroll the first year, which includes benefits and health insurance, will top $2.72 million.


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