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New contract approved for Canton’s DPW workers

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CANTON — Village trustees Monday night approved a new contract that requires Department of Public Works employees to significantly increase their health insurance contributions.

The four-year pact also provides 2.75 percent pay raises each year for 2013, 2014 and 2015. It is retroactive to 2012, but does not provide a wage increase for that year.

The nine-member DPW union has signed off on the agreement, which took more than a year to negotiate.

After three sessions with mediator Donald Mesibov, the two sides resolved their differences. “I thought the mediator did a good job of bringing both sides together,” Trustee Joseph J. Frank said. He served on the village’s negotiation team with Trustee Mary Ann Ashley.

The contract requires DPW employees hired before June 1, 2011, to double their contribution toward health insurance from $30 per paycheck to $60, retroactive to June 1. Employees are paid every two weeks.

The per-paycheck contribution will increase to $90 in 2014 and to $120 in 2015.

New employees will be required to contribute 20 percent toward their health coverage as soon as they’re hired, according to the contract, which runs from June 1, 2012, through May 31, 2016.

Ms. Ashley said the rising cost of health insurance has forced the village to seek higher worker contributions.

Members of the Canton Police Association are the only employees who still don’t chip in toward their health insurance. The issue has been a stumbling block in contract negotiations. The two sides are scheduled to enter binding arbitration in December.

In other news, the board appointed Robert Latimer to the police department, pending the results of a psychological evaluation. The appointment is probationary for one year and carries an entry-level salary of roughly $37,000.

The board also failed to get enough votes to pass a resolution urging state officials to repeal the controversial SAFE Act which imposed greater restrictions on gun users.

Trustee Michael E. Dalton and Ms. Ashley supported the resolution. Mayor David P. Curry, Mr. Frank and Trustee Daniel J. McDonnell said they were not in favor.

Village Clerk Sally A. Noble said the provisions in the federal Affordable Care Act are expected to cost the village about $25,000 more a year in health insurance expenses.

“There’s extra paperwork, but the most direct impact is extra costs,” Mrs. Noble said.

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