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Richmond Council Oks Hefty Union Pact
May 16, 1996


Thursday, May 16, 1996
Section: news
Page: A03

RICHMOND The City Council has given final approval to a new five-year contract that gives a 10 percent raise to members of its largest employee union.

The agreement with Local 790 of the United Public Employees Union, a group affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, was approved by a 7-2 vote of the council on Tuesday.

"Our membership was generally pleased with the deal," said union negotiator Larry Hendel on Wednesday. "With any negotiations, there's give and take. We think we've come up with a deal that is fair for the taxpayers as well as the employees."

Council members Nat Bates and Donna Powers voted against the contract. Mayor Rosemary Corbin, Vice Mayor Richard Griffin and Council members Lesa McIntosh, Alex Evans, John Marquez, Tom Butt and Irma Anderson supported it.

There was no discussion at Tuesday's meeting.

Union members will receive a 10 percent salary increase over the first two years of the contract. The first 2 percent is retroactive to July 1995, with another 3 percent increase retroactive to January of this year.

Effective July 1, they will see another 2 percent hike, and 3 percent more in January 1997.

Salaries for the remaining three years of the contract will be negotiated next year.

The contract also gives workers some increases in benefits. Those include an increase in life insurance from $20,000 to $30,000 per employee; increased medical coverage for retirees; a higher allowance for safety shoes, uniforms and meals during overtime; and increased dental coverage.

The city won a concession from the union in medical insurance. As of January 1997, employees who choose the most expensive of the 15 plans offered must pay a portion of the monthly premium.

The union represents more than 400 non-supervisory staff in city government, including tradespeople, recreation workers, janitors, clerks and engineers.