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PEP May 2005
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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 and 376.

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 comptroller’s 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 top dollar.”

Construction Laborers and Highway Repairers in Local 376 rejected the economic agreement in December. They are seeking a determination from the comptroller.

Local members felt that their pay falls too far short of what comparable workers receive in the private sector and that the citywide pact’s 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 Kattou.

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 shouldn’t 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 local’s 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.

 

 

 
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