Physical Services Union Contract Includes Step Raises
WETHERSFIELD - Wethersfield has inked a ratified labor contract with its physical services union that includes periodic wage increases and expanded employee healthcare changes.

       The Town Council voted unanimously to approve the three-year deal, a collective bargaining agreement between Wethersfield and the 40-plus employees being represented by the AFSCME union, during its Feb. 3 meeting.

       Under the new contract, employees will receive step wage increases in each of the agreement’s three years. After the first year, compensation will go up 2.5 percent and then 2.85 percent in the year after, said Town Manager Jeff Bridges during the meeting. In the final year, union members will see a wage bump of 2.75 percent, he said.

       Newly-hired employees will be enrolling in the town’s High Deductible H.S.A health plan with Anthem Blue Cross, Bridges said. Those who opt not to take part in a wellness incentive program will be charged a 2.5 percent employee health cost sharing increase, he said.

       Other changes in the agreement include a 50 percent reduction in the number of personal days--employees will now have two as opposed to the previous four--and an increase in employee OPEB and pension fund contributions, according to stipulations outlined in the Town Council meeting packet.

       The employee pension contribution increases will also occur in steps, starting with the current 4 percent for the first year, and following with 4.5 percent and then 5 percent in the two subsequent years, according to the packet.

       Employee contributions to the OPEB retiree health insurance will see the current 2 percent increase for the first year, 2.5 percent for the second and 3 percent for the third.

       The contract currently covers more than $1.4 million worth of salaries for the union employees. By 2016, the final year of the agreement, the figure will have increased to over $1.5 million with the step raises.