The City of Lackawanna has reached a deal with another one of its collective bargaining units.
But public works employees will have to wait a couple more weeks for the new contract to be finalized.
The City Council on Monday tabled a vote on the deal, saying they planned to look it over more carefully after being burned last month by a tagalong provision on a new contract for police officers that brought with it pay raises for department heads.
Council members said they were not aware that a city ordinance adopted in 2009 linked pay raises for patrol officers to corresponding wage increases for nonbargaining employees – who hold about a dozen of the city’s highest-paying jobs.
The tagalong provision on the police contract made several of the members unwilling to pull the trigger Monday on another new deal until they look it over more closely.
“I don’t want to give the dog catcher a $50,000 raise and find out later that we did,” quipped 3rd Ward Councilman Joseph Jerge.
The proposed public works contract calls for pay raises of 2.75 percent in 2013-14 and 2014-15 and 3 percent in 2015-16, as well as retroactive pay increases of 2 percent per year going back to 2009.
It would cover about 36 employees in the Public Works Department.
Members of the Civil Services Employees Association, Local 1000, AFSCME, AFL-CIO also would get increased longevity pay: $1,000 after 10 years of service, up from $800; $1,100 after 15 years, up from $900; $1,300 after 20 years, up from $1,100; and $1,500 after 25 years, a step that didn’t exist in the last contract.
New hires in the department will be required to live within the city as a condition of employment.
About two-dozen public works employees showed up in Council chambers for the vote. Council President Henry R. Pirowski Jr. assured them the Council will reconsider the deal at a special meeting, likely on June 27.
“I want to make sure nothing is attached to their contract. What happened last time should never happen again,” said 1st Ward Councilman Abdul Noman.
If the public works employee contract goes through, it will be the third new deal struck between the city and a collective bargaining unit since May 20. Only an expired contract with city firefighters is still in negotiations, but a deal there seems far away. The firefighters recently filed an unfair labor practices claim against the city with the state Public Employment Relations Board.
City Attorney Antonio Savaglio was excused from Monday’s meeting due to the death of his father, Carlo. Council members adjourned the meeting in his memory.