CONTRACT UPS WAGES, IMPOSES FURLOUGHS

council-sessionCouncil members Michael DuPont, Ed Zipprich and Juanita Lewis heard details of the contract in a closed-door session Monday night before approving it in open session.

Red Bank officials last night approved a collective bargaining agreement that will boost the hourly pay of blue-collar and clerical workers  by three percent.

Because the raises will be paid only for the second half of this year, Mayor Pasquale Menna said the bump was effectively 1.5 percent for the 70 or so affected workers.

The contract with Communications Workers of America Local 1034 was approved unanimously by the borough council following a closed-door executive session permitted under state law for discussion of personnel matters. Councilwoman Sharon Lee was absent.

The deal includes no retroactive wage increase, so “in essence, its a one-and-a-half-percent contract,” Menna told redbankgreen.

In addition to the wage increase, the contract includes provisions for a furlough program and a four-day workweek.

Under the furlough, affected workers must take three unpaid days off between July 1 and the end of the year. The four-day workweek, which went into effect earlier this month, increases the working day by two hours, with Fridays off.

That measure was adopted to save on the cost of cooling borough hall in the summer, though the contract allows the borough to continue it through the year.

“I really think it will be extended,” Menna said of the experiment.

Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels said the contract also includes a change in the health insurance plan from a preferred provider organization (PPO) to point-of-service (POS) plan. He said the change will save the borough about $200,000.

The CWA’s most recent contract expired at the end of 2008, as did a bargaining agreement covering police. Contract talks with the PBA are continuing as no deal has yet been reached, and the CWA pact has no bearing on the police contract, Menna said.

The police, library staff and department of public utilities are unaffected by the four-day workweek program.