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Water Works OKs union contract, pay raises for employees

WATERLOO, Iowa — Waterloo Water Works union workers will get a total pay and benefit package increase of 3 percent in each of the next three years.

The municipal utility’s board of trustees voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a new three-year collective bargaining agreement with Teamsters Local 238, which represents 17 distribution and pumping station employees.

The negotiated contract ensures the Water Works will pay only 3 percent more in total compensation to employees each year, but it allows the workers to decide whether that would come as pay raises or to maintain health insurance benefits.

“This approach brings all economic issues onto the table, particularly wage and health insurance, where they are costed and then negotiated,” said Water Work General Manager Dennis Clark. “Any additional cost to the (Water Works) generally will have an offsetting reduction in cost.”

For 2013, the Water Works actually saw a 6.4 percent cut in employee health insurance rates. That means the union workers will receive 5.8 percent pay increases to generate the 3 percent overall cost.

“This year is such a weird anomaly, with the health insurance going down and providing more money for the wage increase,” said Clark, noting he expects the second and third years of the contract likely would see health insurance increases and smaller raises.

The average Teamsters worker at the Water Works will see the hourly wage go from $24.49 to $25.91 in January. Currently, union members don’t pay a premium contribution for their insurance and pay 15 percent of the in-network costs after a $500 single and $1,000 family deductible.

Board members also voted unanimously to approve 3 percent pay raises for the 17 nonbargaining and management staff employed by the Water Works.

Water Works OKs union contract, pay raises for employees.

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