Thursday, December 21, 2006

Seekonk [MA] Public Library Employee Association Agrees on Contract

12 employees of library have contract to ’08.
01:00 AM EST on Friday, December 15, 2006.
By C. Eugene Emery Jr.Journal Staff Writer.

SEEKONK — After going for three years without their first contract, the 12 members of the Seekonk Public Library Employee Association have a pact that extends to June 2008 and includes a retroactive pay raise for the first year of the deal.

Staff librarians, for example, will be paid $18.16 to $20.23 per hour retroactively for that first year, depending on which of the four steps they are on. The rate rises to $19.93 and to $22.20 in the third and final year.

Other positions, such a technical-services associates, customer-services associates and administrative associates, are paid less.

The agreement also calls for the two senior librarians, who are not eligible for overtime, to receive $55,421 per year in the first year and $60,811 in the final year.

Money for the agreement — including a $66,830 increase in the payroll — was approved at the Dec. 3 special Town Meeting.

As with other town employees, workers must now pay 25 percent of their health insurance, which saved the town $14,103.

Town Administrator Paul E. Lemont said he pushed for a settlement because the library organized its union about three years ago, and as a result had to go without a pay raise when it did not reach an initial agreement with the town.

Lemont said he was unwilling to cut a deal until some “offensive” proposals had been eliminated.

One was the union’s wish to require the four high school and college students who help stack books, known as pages, to be in the union.

The other was a proposal to allow employees who worked less than 20 hours per week to be eligible for benefits.

“I found that to be something that would not be in the best interest of the Town of Seekonk,” the administrator said.

Other provisions call for two weeks’ vacation for workers with one to five years of service, and up to five weeks off for employees who have worked at the library for more than 20 years. Up to 20 vacation days can be “banked” for use in a subsequent year.

The agreement includes 12 paid holidays, along with 3 paid half-days off — Good Friday and New Year’s and Christmas eves. Full-time employees also receive 15 days of sick or family-care time per year, and up to 120 days can be accumulated if necessary.

It also provides for annual longevity payments of $200 after five years of continuous service, with the amount increasing by $200 for each additional five years.

The union, Local 4928 of the Massachusetts Library Staff Association, is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. The director, associate director and casual employees are not covered.

The union approved the agreement Thanksgiving evening. The Board of Selectmen, in closed session, approved it Nov. 29.

No comments: