The Montgomery County Commission on Tuesday approved annual 2.5 percent raises for three years for truck drivers, mechanics and equipment operators working in the county engineer’s office.
The salary increase for 47 members of Teamsters Local Union No. 957 is retroactive to January 1 and runs through Dec. 31, 2015. The raise will cost approximately $157,000 per year. The county and union also negotiated a new step table which reduces the starting wage by $2.55 per hour.
The union members have not received raises for four years, County Engineer Paul Gruner said. The employees did receive a $1,000 lump sum bonus in 2009 and $500 in 2011. In 2012, they got neither raise nor bonus.
“I feel this is a fair raise in light of the fact that it has been four years since they received an increase and inflation is starting to trend upward,” Gruner said. “Changes in procedures were included in the contract that will improve safety, efficiency, and training.”
The employees are responsible for maintaining county roads, culvert replacements, bridge repairs and mowing.
As part of the contract, the employee’s half-hour unpaid lunch break will be replaced with two combined paid 15 breaks, which they already receive. As a result, their workday will be shortened by a half hour, Gruner said.
The employees will be paying more toward their health insurance depending on the medical plan they select. The increases range from $5 more for a county family plan and up to an additional $156 if they want to buy-up to a premium family plan.
Additional safety measures also were built into the contract. When road crews are sent out on emergency calls — often in the middle of the night — sign crews also will be dispatched to set up warning signs and barricades. Currently, sign crews are not immediately dispatched.
Bill Mills, business representative for the union, said the members feel the contract is one they can live with.
“I think myself and the majority of the rank and file are satisfied,” Mills said.