• Medford considers new labor contract

    City workers would get a wage boost next year after a 'relatively painless' negotiation process
  • A proposed two-year labor agreement with Medford city workers would give them a 1.9 percent wage increase next July.
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  • A proposed two-year labor agreement with Medford city workers would give them a 1.9 percent wage increase next July.
    The City Council today will consider approving the new labor contract with about 70 employees. Workers wouldn't get a raise this fiscal 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 cents-per-hour increase, bumping some lower-paid employees above $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 monthly would increase 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.
    The city calculates that additional costs from wage increases over the two-year contract will cost more than $150,000, including impacts to the Public Employees Retirement System and Social Security. Changes to the insurance cap will cost $11,000 for the remainder of the biennial budget.
    Doug Detling, director of the city's Human Resources Department, said the contract negotiations weren't adversarial.
    "This is what I would call a relatively painless negotiation process for their contract," he said.
    Detling said contracts with other unions 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 remains in effect until June 30.
    A salary increase for management employees is still being worked out as well, Detling said.
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or email dmann@mailtribune.com.
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