Pleasant Hills union upset with negotiations
Pleasant Hills employees of Local 433 protested outside of council members' homes Sunday morning in an effort to speed up contract negotiations.
The union members are without a contract and have been for almost two years. Fifteen of the union's estimated 25 Pleasant Hills employees joined in the protest, many of whom carried signs that stated, “Pleasant Hills … Stop being a Grinch. Give us a contract.”
“We're just looking for something reasonable,” said Sean McCartan, public works employee and union official. “We want the residents to know what's going on.”
The goal is to continue to partner together to create a contract that works for taxpayers and the employees, said Councilman Daniel Soltesz, who is part of the contract negotiations.
“We're kind of surprised by this,” Soltesz said. “We thought things were going well so far.”
Public works, Pleasant Hills Authority, administrative and police clerk employees joined Local 433 almost two year ago and have been negotiating a contract since then. Union members hope to keep healthcare and individual pension contributions from increasing.
“It's gone on too long,” McCartan said. “We want questions to start being answered.”
Soltesz said negotiations for the contract started in March 2012.
Soltesz said borough officials offered the union a contract several years ago and it was turned down.
“It's been on the table,” he said. “We think we've bene pretty fair with everything we've offered.”
Negotiations include increasing healthcare to 15 percent with a $3,000 deductible and increasing individual pension contributions to 5 percent, McCartan said.
“That's a large hit,” he said.
Soltesz said the healthcare plan on the table is one of the best Highmark offers, referring to it as “the Cadillac of plans,” while borough contributions to the pension is 97 percent. This contract sets a precedent, so borough officials want to make sure it is what's best for taxpayers and the union.
“We've been meeting with them on a regular basis,” Soltesz said.
Laura Van Wert is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5814 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.