Weekly Feature

2018-05-16 / Front Page

Hourly employees union ratifies contract

Town of Tonawanda

After six-plus years, the Town of Tonawanda and the town’s Hourly Employees Association are close to reaching an agreement on a contract.

The Hourly Employees Association of the Town of Tonawanda, which has been without a contract since 2011, ratified a tentative contract on Thursday with a vote of 112-69.

HEATT employees are an independent association comprising hourly employees who work in the town performing such jobs as collecting garbage and recycling; caring for the town’s parks, pools and golf courses; plowing streets; trimming trees; and cleaning up sewage, among other duties.

Before reaching an agreement, members of the hourly union have been seen picketing outside the Municipal Building before Town Board meetings and, on numerous occasions, have voiced issues regarding health insurance and not receiving wage increases.

Supervisor Joseph Emminger says the contract represents a compromise on both sides and that the town “certainly welcomes the news.” He added that some members may still be unhappy with what was agreed upon.

According to the supervisor, all employees will be contributing to their health care and will receive what he believes are significant wage increases.

As soon as the contract is approved by the town, the employees will receive a 5 percent pay increase in 2018 as well as in 2019. Raises will then continue to increase at 3 percent each year from 2020 until 2024, when the contract expires.

Emminger noted that the town has great employees and that hopefully this issue can be left behind as there is now a long-term contract.

The Town Board will be voting on the ratified contract at the next Town Board meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, May 21, at the Municipal Building, 2919 Delaware Ave.

The town will also be meeting with the salaried union sometime this week.

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