COVID bonuses, raises: Stamford city, union reach accord on contract

Stamford Government Center

Stamford Government Center

Matthew Brown / Hearst Connecticut Media

STAMFORD — An updated agreement for a union representing more than 300 full-time municipal employees that includes retroactive pay raises has cleared city boards.

The full Board of Representatives voted on the pact between the city and United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America-UAW Local 2377 during a meeting Wednesday. The Board of Finance approved it last month.

Last year amid budget cuts, the union agreed to forgo raises and switch to the state’s Partnership Plan for health care, while the city agreed to not lay off members, who include health inspectors, dispatchers, secretaries, tech workers, custodians and mechanics. The city also agreed to reopen the agreement this year to reassess wages based on “the status of the local economy,” according to a press release from that time.

“They satisfied the agreement that we have in place and also extended for another year, so that gives us a little more time to work with,” said Renford Whynes, the president of the local union, this week. “So we were very pleased with it.”

Mayor David Martin did not have a comment.

The terms include 1.25 percent wage increases every six months from July 2020 to January 2022 as well as an increase in employees’ health premium cost share to 14.5 percent effective July 1, 2021, and then 15 percent effective July 1, 2022, according to a summary from the city.

Members of the union who had to report to work regularly during the COVID-19 pandemic will get a non-pensionable stipend for April 2020 to June 2021. Workers will receive either a $50-per-month or a $100-per-month stipend “based on their ability (or inability) to practice social distancing during the workday,” according to the summary.

The agreement also includes a non-pensionable stipend of $25 per month for employees certified in a second language and a non-pensionable, one-time stipend of $65 for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Under the agreement, which runs through June 30, 2022, workers may choose each year to cash out accrued vacation over 30 days at 75 percent of their pay rate. Payment would be made in July of the fiscal year after it went unused.

The cost of the combined raises is about $1.7 million, according to the summary. The COVID stipend for the union members was estimated to cost $277,000. The second-language stipend was estimated to cost $6,000. The vaccine stipend was estimated to cost about $18,000.

Includes prior reporting by staff writer Angela Carella.