The Jamestown Firefighters Association Local 1772 and the Kendall Club Police Benevolent Association are now under new contracts with the city of Jamestown.
On Monday, the Jamestown City Council approved both of the contract agreements with the city’s fire and police unions. During a work session meeting, Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi discussed both contracts with council members. Teresi said both contracts are similar, with both being four years in length and retroactive to the start of 2012. The mayor said the salaries for the contracts will include a 2 percent increase for 2012, 0 percent increase for 2013 and a 2.75 percent increase for both 2014 and 2015. He said that is a total of a 7.5 percent increase that averages out to around 1.8 percent a year.
Teresi said one of the demands from the city that both unions agreed to is a new health care plan for both active and retired members. For both unions, members will pay 17 percent of their health care premium in 2014, which is 1 percent higher than the current rate. Plus starting in 2015, a new wellness program will start where those who participate will pay 17 percent of their health insurance costs. However, if a union member doesn’t participate in the wellness program they will pay 22 percent. Teresi said BlueCross BlueShield is planning to implement the wellness program in 2015.
”We see this as a very important step,” he said.
There are only two differences between the police and fire contracts. One is a fitness incentive bonus of $500 for police union members who pass a physical fitness test. The second is the fire department will start the health care wellness program prior to 2015 if it is implemented by BlueCross BlueShield earlier than projected.
Teresi said he is glad all involved in the process came to an agreement before it went to an arbitration board. Teresi said arbitration could have costs between $60,000 to $100,000. He said it was better for the sides to come to an agreement.
”Neither party achieved everything they were looking for,” he said.
After the City Council meeting, Anthony Dolce, Ward 2 councilman said historically in the past when decisions were made through an arbitration the city usually paid more than the terms in the new contract agreements.
”I think this is a big victory on our part,” he said.
Dolce said also knowing how much police and fire union members will be paid during the next two years will also make budgeting easier by knowing exact numbers. Both fire and police unions have not been operating under a current contract the past two years.
”This is a huge weight off our backs,” he said.
Dolce said there are 60 members in the Kendall Club and 58 in the firefighters association.