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Council gives nod to Teamsters contract

GLOVERSVILLE — The Common Council on Tuesday ratified a new, 18-month collective bargaining agreement with the Gloversville Teamsters Local 294 that keeps salaries flat but includes a one-time payment to all current union members.

The previous agreement between the city and the Teamsters expired on Dec. 31, 2019 but remained in effect as required by law while the two parties negotiated a new contract. The new agreement goes into effect immediately running from Jan. 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

The local Teamsters union is comprised of all full-time and part-time employees of the Transit Department except for the mobility manager.

The memorandum of agreement was ratified by the union membership before it was ratified by the Common Council on Tuesday through the unanimous approval of an emergency resolution.

Mayor Vincent DeSantis explained that the city and union recently reached the short-term agreement and sought to ratify the contract that includes new terms surrounding holiday time ahead of Thanksgiving.

The collective bargaining agreement keeps hourly salaries for union members flat but includes a one-time payment of $800 each for all full-time staffers and $400 each for all part-time staffers, less applicable deductions.

Under the agreement the annual contribution of union members for medical, dental and vision benefits will increase by $13.22 a year to a total of $790.92 for an individual plan, $26.61 to a total of $1581.36 for a two-person plan and $36.31 to a total of $2173.90 for a family plan.

The contract also shortens the probationary period for new hires to 90 days, down from 180, but maintains hourly wages at $1 less than the full hourly rate for the first six months of employment.

Additionally, the agreement stipulates that job openings will be posted internally as they arise and that any members of the collective bargaining unit who apply will be considered for the position in addition to any current or former full-time, part-time, per-diem, temporary or substitute drivers who apply and who left in good standing. The city retains the right to hire the candidate who is ultimately determined to be most qualified for the position.

The contract removes holidays from consideration of days worked for the purpose of computing overtime and reduces the number of hours that are paid out to part-time staff for holidays on which employees do not work to a total of four hours, down from five.

DeSantis pointed to the contract as a balanced agreement between the negotiating sides that also cleans up some previously existing language.

“I think it’s fair to the workers, I think it clarifies a lot of things in the agreement and it’s also fair to the city and not a huge drain on our resources,” said DeSantis. “It’s a short-term contract but it settles a lot of things that were kind of up in the air.”

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