A proposed two-year labor agreement could resolve contract differences with Medford city workers by giving them a 1.9 percent wage increase, starting next July.
The City Council Thursday will consider approving the new labor contract with about 70 employees, making it retroactive to last July 1.
Workers wouldn't get a raise this year, but would receive a one-time $100 payment on Jan. 25 that would essentially amount to a bonus.
"We're not here to break the city," said Rodney McCambridge, representative for Local 2621, Council 75 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
He said the salary increase next year would be well below the inflation rate. He said the increase and the bonus are a recognition that the city doesn't have enough money coming in to justify normal cost-of-living increases.
Under the contract, new hires would receive a 35 cent increase, bumping some lower paid employees up to more than $13 an hour, McCambridge said.
"In this area, it's a decent wage," he said.
The amount of money the city contributes to health insurance coverage would be bumped up by $25 to $1,275 in January and to $1,350 on Jan. 1, 2014.
Workers in the union include those in planning, building, roads and parks, including engineers, custodians, clerical support, warehouse and administrative support workers.
The city calculates the 1.9 percent salary increase will cost $73,000 over a one-year period.
Even though the contract is retroactive, Doug Detling, director of the city's Human Resources Department, said it wasn't difficult to achieve.
"This is what I would call a relatively painless negotiation process for their contract," he said.
Detling said contracts with other unions and management representing the 421 employees who work for the city are still under way.
A contract for police is still being negotiated after union members rejected an earlier proposal.
The contract for firefighters is still good until next June 30.
A salary increase for management employees is still being worked out as well, Detling said.
— Damian Mann
Read more in Thursday's Mail Tribune.