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New labor contract OK’ed for Ogdensburg employees union

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OGDENSBURG — A new three-year labor contract is in place for the union representing 27 city public works employees, four police department dispatchers and two parks and recreation employees.

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a 2013-15 agreement between the city and the unit represented by the Civil Service Employees Association.

The new contract carries a 2 percent pay increase for each year. The raise for this year, retroactive to Jan. 1 will cost the city $30,000, City Comptroller Philip A. Cosmo said.

Other terms of the agreement include:

n The city will pay 90 percent of current employees’ health care costs and 35 percent for their dependents at retirement. For employees hired after next Jan. 1, the city responsibility will drop to 35 percent.

n Effective next Jan. 1, all new employees will pay 25 percent for health care while they are working. Past new hires paid 20 percent.

n Starting Jan. 1, 2015, health copay caps will rise from $200 to $250 for individuals and from $450 to $500 for families.

nClothing allowances will rise in 2015 from $360 to $400 for public works employees and $450 to $500 for police dispatchers.

Since last spring, Ogdensburg officials and employees have been meeting to reduce the city’s continually budget-busting health insurance expenses. City Manager John M. Pinkerton said the new CSEA contract’s 25 percent charge for new employees, cutting the city’s responsibility from 80 percent to 75 percent, is a start.

“Absolutely,” he said. “That goes to cut the cost of health insurance to the taxpayer.”

Ogdensburg’s 2013 health care budget is expected to surpass its $2,650,267 projection. As of Sept. 30, the city had been billed for $2,047,523 in employee health care costs, leaving $604,865 left in the budget.

The city provides health care coverage for its 516 current and retired employees and their dependents.

The city is self-insured.

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