City union settles with Bayonne on contract

BAYONNE – The city of Bayonne has settled with the bulk of its rank-and-file employees on a five-and-a-half-year contract, city and union officials have confirmed.
The 240 members of American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2261 have been working without a contract since July 1 of last year. The pact covers city hall, public works, recreation, and senior citizen center employees, and police dispatchers.
The agreement does not cover police officers, firefighters, and library employees, who have separate contracts.
The pact covers the period from July 1, 2014 until Dec. 31, 2019. There is no pay increase for the first year. Following that, there are increases of 2 percent, 1.5 percent, 1.75 percent 1.5 percent, and 2 percent.
“It’s a fair deal. It treats the workers’ needs,” DeMarco said. “It increases them within the two-percent cap placed upon municipalities.”
Although the union voted by nearly a 2-to-1 margin to approve the contract, union representatives feel its membership should have gotten more in terms of increases.
“We should have done much better,” said Chuck Freyer, AFSCME Local 2261 president. “If the money was better I think mostly everyone would have been happy.”
A mediator from the state Public Employment Relations Commission entered the discussions after the two sides had reached an impasse by the summer.
The next step is for the City Council to vote on the contract at its Oct. 21 meeting, according to DeMarco.

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