A 2 percent salary hike for non-union workers in the proposed 2013 Elma town budget drew objections and questions from some board members Wednesday.
Supervisor Dennis Powers said the adjustment would help close a salary gap between union and non-union employees. The hike would be capped at $700 and is only for one year. Powers explained that any salary increases in the 2014 budget would be based on the 2013 increase of 3 percent – capped at 50 cents per hour or $1,048 – that all employees are getting across the board. The exception is the union workers who are in their second year of a three-year contract and already are going to get the 3 percent.
Councilmen Tracy Petrocy and Thomas Fallon questioned the additional 2 percent increase, which Fallon said would just create hard feelings among the workers who are not getting it. Councilman Michael Nolan was not present.
Powers agreed that his proposal to tack on the 2 percent for some of the workers is a first for the town but pointed out that it was for 2013 only.
While elected officials will be given the 3 percent increase, they wouldn’t get the additional 2 percent. The councilmen said they didn’t care about themselves but were concerned about the rest of the elected officials.
Fallon asked how the 11 employees to be given the extra 2 percent were chosen. Powers said they were full-time deputy clerks, court clerks and water clerks.
Petrocy said, “An attempt to mirror the employees union is a collision course ready to happen. I suggest you bring the union down to the non-union employees. I want a professional brought in to negotiate a better contract next time ... We need to be more aggressive the next time. We are putting ourselves in a bad position.”
It was pointed out that most of the non-union workers getting 3 percent will be getting less than 50 cents an hour and are not affected by the cap, with the exception of one worker.