Local 494 Gains
In Contract with
From left to right, Local 494 negotiating committee members
Mike Shertel, Joe Petrosky, Vito Lombardi (back), Bob Lackowitz and Alex
Local 494, representing Union County park maintenance workers, craftsmen
and mechanics, reached a new four-year agreement with the county government
last month following lengthy negotiations. The previous contract expired on
December 31, 2000; the UE local was one of five bargaining units negotiating
with the county.
UE members work in the county’s extensive public parks system, which
includes public golf courses, swimming pools and riding stables, and involves
considerable maintenance of equipment. Union members work at 13 different job
sites scattered throughout the county.
Overwhelmingly ratified by Local 494, the contract contains numerous
improvements. A 1.5 percent wage increase is retroactive to Jan. 1, with a
second 1.5 percent increase taking effect in June. During the remaining three
years, workers will receive between 3.5 and 4 percent each year, depending on
an individual’s place on the progression scale, for a total of 13.5 percent
to 15 percent over the four years.
Also, carpenters and plumbers and mechanics will receive one-step upgrades,
averaging about $2,400 during the contract term. Mechanics assigned diesel
mechanics will receive an additional $798 annual stipend.
Parks workers with a commercial drivers’ license have received an $800 a
year stipend; they will see an additional $200 in 2002 and 2004 for a total of
$1,200 a year. Members holding a certified pool operators’ license or a
certified pesticide license will have their annual $600 stipend increased $125
in yearly steps to $725 by 2003.
The eyeglass repair/replacement allowance will be raised to $100, a $40
increase; in addition, the County agrees to pay half the cost of prescription
safety glasses. The shoe allowance goes up $15 for a total of $100 by 2003.
The number of County-issued uniforms, T-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets
increases as well.
The contract improves the sick-time buyout program for employees 55 years
old with 25 years of service (members receive 15 paid sick days per year). The
sliding scale is for 100-200 unused sick days pro rata, to a maximum of
$18,000 for 400-plus days banked. Disability insurance payments increase $50
to $300 per week, with an employee contribution of $7.17 per month for the
length of the contract.
As Local Pres. Joe Petrosky reported to the membership,
the negotiating committee fought against any monthly contributions towards
medical insurance, and in the end convinced the County to greatly reduce the
severity of its demands. However, for the first time, members will contribute
$10 a month towards health insurance and those earning more than $55,000 a
year will contribute $25 a month. Prescription drug contributions increase to
$3 for mail order, $5 for generic and $10 for brand-name. Reduced deductibles
for out-of-network use and substantial employer contributions are also part of
Other improvements are made in "comp-time," call-in
pay for snow emergencies and educational funds. Language improvements include
the requirement that the employer provide the union with information in a more
timely fashion and pay Local 494 $1,500 a year for mailing expenses.
The Local 494 negotiating committee consisted of Pres.
Petrosky, Vice Pres. Alex Chappotin, Treas. Bob Lackowitz, Rec.
Sec. Mike Shertel and Chief Steward Vito Lombardi. They were
assisted by Intl. Rep. Bruce Klipple.
UE News - 05/01