Kids in the Hall

By Andy Balaskovitz

Council approves new UAW contract that gives employees pay raise, saves the city in health care costs

Monday, Oct 21 — The Bernero administration and the United Auto Workers union representing city employees ratified a new contract Friday afternoon that received unanimous City Council support tonight.

At the start of tonight’s meeting, the Council met for 25 minutes in closed session to discuss the contract before later approving it on the floor, as it’s the body’s responsibility under state law.

Details of the three-year contract were not immediately available, but Council members and the administration each said it was a good deal for the city and employees.

Council President Carol Wood said employees will now pay 3 percent toward retirement benefits, but that it also calls for a pay increase for employees. Also, families of future hires will have their health care covered until that employee retires, but not beyond that.

“Between wage increases and changes in health care, we’re going to break even on this contract,” she said.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Jessica Yorko called changes in health care costs the “centerpiece” to the contract. She also said changes in paying for pensions will “reduce long-term legacy costs.”

At-Large Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar also said it leaves the door open for health care to be negotiated before the contract is up “as we try to move all units into a single health care plan that could save a lot of costs.”