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Selectmen approve union contracts

December 23, 2009
LITTLETON—The town has concluded negotiations for new contracts with both its unions, which will be presented to the voters at town meeting.

Last week Town Manager Chuck Connell and representatives of both the police union and the union representing the Fire Department and other town workers presented the contracts to the Board of Selectmen.

The board voted to accept both contracts and put them on the warrant in March. The contracts are for three years and if approved by the voters would go into effect April 1, 2010.

Both contracts had small increases in pay and benefits compared to previous years.

"Union negotiators demonstrated real concern for the plight of the taxpayers," Connell said. "The air of cooperation in the air was quite remarkable."

The police contract had a cost of living increase (COLI) for 2010 of 1.5 percent and 3 percent for 2011 and 2012. There would be no step increases for 2010 and 2011, and a 3 percent step increase in 2012.

The annual increase will cost taxpayers $12,335 for 2010, $26,054 for 2011 and $27,329 for 2012.

This compares to 3 percent minimum COLI and 2.5 percent increases per year under the old contract.

Union negotiator Sgt. Chris Tyler said throughout the negotiations the union members kept in mind the state of the economy and came to an agreement fair to the town and union members.

The AFSCME agreement (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) allows a .5 percent COLI for 2010, 3 percent for 2011, 3 percent for 2012. There will be no step increases for 2010 or 2011 and a 2.5 percent increase for 2012.

This compares to increases under the old contract to a minimum increase of 5.5 percent per year combined step and COLI.

The additional cost to taxpayers for 2010 would be $14,255, $38,769 for 2011 and $40,318 for 2012.

The selectmen involved in the negotiations—Ed Boynton with the police union and Ron Bolt with AFSCME—both said they believed the results were fair and were impressed by the spirit of cooperation around them.

Voters must approve both contracts in March in order for them to go into effect. Otherwise provisions of the old contract would remain in effect until new contracts were negotiated and approved.

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