Town hall employees contract gets RTM approval
FAIRFIELD — The Representative Town Meeting Monday unanimously approved a contract for Town Hall employees that gives them a 2 percent salary increase.
The Town Hall Employees Association has 79 active members, and the contract covers from July 1, 2017, through to June 30, 2021. Members will also see their share of health premiums increase 1 percent each year for the next three years, from 10.25 percent to 12.25 percent.
But Minority Leader Pam Iacono, R-8, was not happy with what the contract negotiations didn’t achieve — a change in the language regarding work hours at the town’s libraries.
Library employees, per the contract, work a 35-hour week, Monday through Saturday. Any hours worked on Sundays are paid at two and a half times the regular rate of pay. “Not time and a half, “ Iacono said, “two and a half times. Also, they receive $3.50 per hour beyond 5 p.m. on weekdays and all hours on Saturday.”
Iacono said she was glad the subject was at least discussed during negotiations, but said that language needs to be revisited and“tightened up/”
“This the first place the first selectman goes,” when cuts need to be made to the municipal budget, Iacono said. “The first thing that comes on the table is library hours are reduced on Sunday, which is where people really want them and really need them.”
She said while the dollar amount is not that large — about $18,000 — if they want to stop budget cuts to the library, the language has to change.
RTM member Karen Wackerman, D-7, said her caucus supported the new contract. “Some of the things we thought were really admirable were a 2 percent increase, which is really reasonable in light of the market,” she said. Wackerman said the contract give s the town and the employees some security for several years, and she also lauded the increase in the employee share of health premiums. “We think that’s a good trend,” she said.
Iacono said while the 1 percent increase in premium share is good, she said for her personally, she just got notice that her private medical insurance was increasing 6 percent. “So 1 percent is a pretty good deal, I’m happy with it, but there are a lot of people that are still struggling to get places,” Iacono said. “I think we need to keep that in mind.”