Most Sharpsville borough employees will receive a $500 cash incentive in 2013 in exchange for a one-year pay freeze.
It’s a detail of the newest AFSCME contract which borough council members approved Wednesday and the union’s eight members are expected to sign soon.
The four-year deal includes a 2-percent wage hike in the second and third years, and a 2.5-percent increase in the final year.
Additionally, there are shift differentials for employees working the evening and night shifts. Evening-shift workers will earn an additional 50 cents per hour, night-shift workers will make an extra 75 cents.
Council members approved the contract by a 6-1 vote without making any public comment. Councilman Del Moore voted against the agreement, which is effective Oct. 19, the day that commemorates the union’s charter. The contract ends Oct. 18, 2016.
“The main thing is the bonus,” Moore said. “There are a couple other issues but I’d rather not bury myself in too deep.”
He declined to elaborate. But he said the economy’s current condition means employees should be thankful for their good jobs and benefits, and additional incentives shouldn’t be necessary.
“To get pay raises with the bonus, it sounds like the NFL,” Moore said. “You don’t get signing bonuses to sign a contract. I know they said it’s been done in the past, but because it’s been done doesn’t mean it’s right.”
And though the union only has eight members – six street department employees plus the police secretary and utility billing clerk – Borough Manager Ken Robertson said the terms of the agreement are extended to three more non-union workers: The borough manager, street department superintendent and wage tax collector.
Wages were the key point of change in the contract, said Councilman Jack Cardwell, a member of the personnel committee that took part in negotiations.
But there are other changes.
Three are details pertaining to part-time employees. Even though the contract does not provide benefits to part-timers – and that’s now specifically stated, as is the fact that part-time employees shouldn’t expect to work 40-hour weeks – the new contract helps part-time workers build seniority.
“Part time employees shall earn seniority from their date of hire and have bidding rights by seniority to vacant or newly created positions,” the contract states.
The contract also will expand the Easter holiday weekend for employees, and will move the borough’s official holiday from Sunday to Monday. Employees already have off Good Friday.
Additionally, employees may extend time off for bereavement by using other paid leave days, such as personal or vacation days.
Moore said another sticking point was the addition of sick days for retiring workers.
Employees are paid for up to 55 days of accumulated sick days when they retire, and under the new contract they’ll now earn an additional day’s pay for each year of service over 20 years. That means an employee with, for example, 55 sick days in the bank and 21 years of service will be paid for 56 days, a 22-year employee paid 57 days and a 30-year employee paid 65 days. There’s no cap on that formula.
Signing the AFSCME contract means the borough council is done negotiating for a little while. The borough’s police force is covered by an FOP agreement.
The last police contract, which covered 2009, 2010 and 2011, was extended to cover 2012 and 2013. Police agreed to a pay freeze -- without a signing bonus -- for those latter years.