Public Employee Press
Three locals press for wage surveys
Prevailing PAY rate in private sector is the goal of Sewage
Treatment Worker Max Erickson and others in Locals 1320, 1087
By GREGORY N. HEIRES
Prevailing-rate workers from three locals are exercising their right under
state labor law to have salary surveys by the city comptroller determine
their pay rates.
Labor law Section 220 lets certain public sector blue-collar workers seek
to match the average pay and benefits of similar private sector workers,
as determined by the comptroller, rather than accepting the terms of the
citywide economic agreement.
If the union and the city cannot agree to settle based on the comptrollers
determination, the union can go to court to enforce it.
Members of Sewage Treatment Workers and Senior STWs Local 1320 rejected
the citywide economic agreement by a 664-72 mail-ballot vote.
We studied the Section 220 option very carefully and made it clear
to our members that we could face a long, drawn-out process before we
have a new contract, Local 1320 President James Tucciarelli said.
And our members decided to draw a line in the sand. Our newer members
who are here for the long haul need to be better compensated to support
their families and send their kids to college.
To be hired, my members need a high school diploma and three years
of experience in a skilled trade, which puts you at journeyman status,
Tucciarelli said. The city should recognize that we have the same
qualifications and do the same work as people on the outside who are earning
Construction Laborers and Highway Repairers in Local 376 rejected the
economic agreement in December. They are seeking a determination from
Local members felt that their pay falls too far short of what comparable
workers receive in the private sector and that the citywide pacts
hourly raise of 41 cents an hour did not go far enough toward closing
the gap, said Local 376 President Gene DeMartino and Vice President Tom
The 120 Radio Repair Mechanics in Prevailing Rate Employees Local 1087
have also opted for the survey route. My philosophy is that our
people come in as journeymen with two to five years of experience and
shouldnt be paid 15 percent less than workers who are already on
the payroll, said Local 1087 President Victor Emanuelson.
For new employees, the current economic agreement that DC 37 members overwhelmingly
approved last year includes a hiring rate 15 percent lower than incumbent
employees for two years.
The locals 40 Locksmiths have also turned down the citywide pact.
But Local 1087 and the DC 37 Research and Negotiations Dept. are continuing
negotiations with the city on their behalf.
Members of another blue-collar local, Dept. of Transportation Supervisory
Employees Local 1157, are in the thick of the survey process following
their rejection a few years ago of the previous citywide economic agreement.