City workers union OKs one-year contract


A union representing more than 5,000 city employees ratified a one-year contract yesterday providing raises of at least 4 percent, its president announced.

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 44, which represents mostly blue-collar workers, initially sought 6 percent raises in negotiations that had been extended since their contract expired July 1.

The city began negotiations offering 1 percent raises, said Glenard S. Middleton Sr., president of Local 44.

Under the new contract, the employees will receive 4 percent raises or an additional $800 a year, whichever is greater, Mr. Middleton said.

The union chief called the pact fair. "We said we didn't want any layoffs or any reduction in benefits," he said. "We wanted a fair raise."

Mr. Middleton said the new contract also:

* Provides 2.5 percent longevity pay increases for employees of 30 years or more.

* Creates a "sick-leave" bank in which all employees will contribute two of their sick days, creating 10,000 days, which could be used by workers who need extended leave for serious illness.

* Upgrades the job classification of about 2,000 drivers of city vehicles.

* Requires the city to review the classifications of all education, health and public works employees in the union.

A spokesman for Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke did not have any immediate comment on the contract ratification.

The local has not yet endorsed either Mr. Schmoke or City Council President Mary Pat Clarke in the September mayoral primary. But Mr. Middleton said he expects his members to back Mr. Schmoke.

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