Westfield Reaches Agreement With Union Workers

WESTFIELD – Westfield officials announced an agreement was reached with the Local 459 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers last week.

The contract term lasts three years, retroactive beginning April 1, 2013. Employees received no general wage scale increase for the first year, beginning April 1, 2014, 30-cent increases for each of the remaining two years. Longevity payments and line of progression pay remained in place throughout negotiations.

Employees will also contribute $500 toward their annual health-related costs through Health Reimbursement Account reductions. Employees have the option to choose either a Silver or Gold Plan level option with Univera Health. Employees opting for the higher cost Gold Plan will pay the difference in annual premium costs from the Silver Plan, of which the village pays completely.

Village officials say this agreement represents “a reasonable approach to keeping ever increasing wage and benefits costs at bay while providing great benefits to our employees.”

Mayor Michael VandeVelde said, “I think it helped that I met with employees one on one after negotiations stalled. We were able to exchange ideas informally and it gave me an opportunity to outline the village’s financial constraints to them face to face. I would also like to commend the village clerk and the treasurer for all their hard work finding and hammering out the details of a couple of health insurance plans that fit the employees and village while keeping us below the tax cap.”

The IBEW represents 32 full-time employees at the village including electric, water, wastewater, police and administrative departments.

Officials also noted that even with this agreement, the village general fund budget remains under the 2 percent property tax cap at 1.59 percent over last year’s budget of appropriations.