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Baldwin Borough saves with new public works pact

| Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, 12:21 p.m.

A revamping of Baldwin Borough's employee agreement with its public works staffers will save the municipality as much as $200,000 annually for the next five years.

The savings is attributed to a switch in health care plans that is set to begin this month, said borough Manager John Barrett.

“There was an opportunity to save money. It was in the best interest of the borough,” he said.

Council members in a unanimous vote at their last meeting approved a memorandum of understanding with the borough's 11 construction, general laborers and material handlers and Local Union No. 1058 of the AFL-CIO — or the public works employees — extending their collective bargaining agreement by two years.

Public works employees also have agreed to the terms, Barrett said.

The new pact, which provides a 3 percent annual pay increase for the employees, runs through Dec. 31, 2017, Barrett said. The annual wage increases match those in the current contract.

The borough always has provided three-years of post-retirement health care for employees that leave at 62 years old, Barrett said. The new contract also will cover spouses during those years.

Though the biggest change in the agreement, Barrett said, is new health care coverage.

Borough officials initiated negotiations when they realized the savings that could be had by switching health care plans, Barrett said.

A health care plan with Highmark was named in the previous contract. The new health coverage, through the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, will cut premium costs to the borough by between $150,000 and $200,000 a year, Barrett said. And the coverage is comparable, he said.

Councilman Bob Collet thanked the union members for being will to work with the borough “in good faith” and save the municipality “enormous amounts of money.”

Changes in health care coverage were made at the beginning of October, Barrett said, and also included administrative staff — totalling 21 borough employees.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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