Havre Daily News
The city of Havre may have its second union contract signed shortly. The Havre City Council on Monday night approved a tentative agreement between the city and the public works union.
A contract with the firefighters union was signed Sept. 20. The city and police union are set to resume talks Nov. 1, after the union's members rejected a proposed agreement.
Public works union president Oscar DeLaRosa said after Monday's meeting that the union will likely vote to approve the agreement with the city this week.
“I don't think we'll have a problem with it,” DeLaRosa said. “Overall, I think it's going to work out.”
This year's negotiations between the city and union has been complicated by misunderstandings.
The union had seemingly reached an agreement with the city in record time before a dispute arose over formalizing the duties of one city worker - who assists the meter reader for part of each month - as a job position. Darren Johnson, union president at the time, said he and the chair of the city's Labor Relations Committee, City Council member Terry Schend, had reached an agreement on the contract before Schend called him and told him the Havre City Council did not have the authority to create a position in the Public Works Department.
The union then rejected the city's proposed agreement in August. Union representatives said the city's proposal did not match what had been negotiated.
Last month, city negotiators and union representatives sat down at the table once more and clarified the items in question.
The proposed two-year contract will give workers a 3 percent raise this year and next year. Workers will cover a third of a 15 percent increase in health insurance premiums by upping their deductibles and copayments, and the city will cover the other 10 percent.
The contract creates three new positions in the department: the part-time meter reader and two truck operators. The city will post the three positions internally, and workers will have the opportunity to apply for them, Schend said Monday. The city will also make a street sweeper position permanent and change the title of water plant operator to plant technician.
Workers will get a 15 cents-per- hour increase in differential pay, upping it to 40 cents an hour. The differential is paid when an employee is working after hours or on emergency call-outs.
Also, any worker who is designated as a supervisor, when a supervisor is absent for at least one day, will receive an additional $2 per hour for work, a $1 increase, Schend said.
The city will increase workers' clothing allowances by $75, bringing the total to $175.
The city will purchase all personal protective equipment that is required to be worn by workers.