The Brainerd City Council Monday approved tentative contract agreements settled between the city and five of its seven bargaining groups.
The council negotiated a 1 percent wage increase for employees, effective Jan. 1, 2011, a .5 percent wage increase effective July 1, 2011; and a 2 percent wage increase effective Jan. 1.
According to City Administrator Dan Vogt, the wage increases were granted in recognition of the past wage freeze during the economic downturn and as an incentive in an effort to “buy-down” the modified single and family health insurance premium split for the base $500 deductible health insurance plan.
Under the settlement, the city portion of the premium contribution for the $500 deductible plan would decrease from 80 percent to 75 percent of the monthly premium for family coverage and decrease from 100 percent to 95 percent for single coverage. The city’s contribution rate for the health savings plan would remain 80/20 percent for family coverage and 100 percent for single coverage as an incentive for more employees to switch to the HSA plan.
Five of the seven union groups — LELS, police officers; IBEW, administrative support; IUOE, park maintenance; and IUOE, street and sewer department; and city administrator, department heads and supervisors, or non-union supervisory employees — reached settlements within the last two weeks. The council met in closed session following Monday’s meeting and came back into open session to also approve a contract settlement with the IAFF Union representing fire equipment operators, along with some contract language changes. The IAFF Union contract also includes a 1 percent increase starting Dec. 31, 2010.
Vogt said the cost of the wage adjustments in 2011, excluding the fire equipment operators, amounts to over $50,500 and about $79,300 in 2012. The savings due to insurance adjustments in 2012 for the employees covered, excluding the fire equipment operators, amounts to more than $15,000.
Vogt told the council the IBEW Brainerd Public Utility union had voted down the contract proposal and will proceed to mediation. The city is continuing with negotiations with the Teamsters Union representing police supervisors.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.