By Frank Lewis
October 12, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
Portsmouth City Council will consider legislation to give the city’s non-union employees raises commensurate with those given to union employees. At Monday night’s Mayor’s Conference Agenda, Council will look at authorizing the preparation of legislation approving a 6 percent pay increase for non-union employees, the City Solicitor and the City Auditor.
Historically, the non-union employees would receive raises reflective of the wage increases to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1039. However, while union employees received 3 percent raises for 2010 and 2011, as per the negotiated contract, the non-union employees did not receive raises for those years. So the proposed salary increase for the non-union employees is the amount equal to the increases that the bargaining unit acquired.
In companion legislation, should Council choose to give those raises, another item will call for non-union employees to also begin paying the same amount as the union employees toward their health benefits package.
The city requires all employees and elected officials to pay a share of their health insurance premium through payroll deduction. All bargaining unit employees pay an amount negotiated in their collective bargaining contracts and non-union employees pay as required by ordinance.
Currently, all bargaining union members are paying a higher monthly share than non-union employees and elected officials. The reason non-union employees were exempt from the higher out-of-pocket premium contribution was that they had not received the raises in salaries given union employees. Since that decision was made, several non-union employees within the Health Department and the Municipal Court system have received salary increases and/or bonuses.
If the ordinance passes, all non-bargaining union employees, members of City Council, the mayor, solicitor and auditor who receive health insurance coverage will begin to pay $80 a month for a single coverage plan and $200 a month for the family plan.
The Daily Times requested a report on all pay figures from City Auditor Trent Williams and did not receive that report. However, in unofficial numbers from that office, a comparison shows a slightly different status from what has been discussed by City Council.
Numbers show the disparity in pay which is discussed by City Council may not be as large as discussed.
2008 - AFSCME employees - 2 percent raise - Municipal Court non-union employees - 2 percent raise
2009 - AFSCME employees - 4 percent raise - Municipal Court non-union employees - 3 percent raise
2010 - AFSCME employees - forfeited 3 percent pay increase - Municipal Court non-union employees - no increase
2011 - AFSCME employees - 2 percent pay increase plus 3 percent increase delayed from 2010
2011 - Municipal Court non-union employees - no increase
2012 - AFSCME employees - no pay increase / increase in medical insurance cost to $80-single / $125-family - 3 percent additional cost to employees
2012 - Municipal Court non-union employees - $1,250 bonus in lieu of pay increase for full time employees
$625 bonus in lieu of pay increase for part time employees
An average increase of 4.32 percent
2013 - AFSCME Union employees - no pay increase - Municipal Court non-union employees - $1,300 bonus in lieu of pay increase for full time employees - an average increase of 4.49 percent.
Average wage for AFSCME employee at $14.92 per hour over 2,080 hours, $31,033.60 annually
pension pickup $931.0
family medical insurance $1,500
union dues $492.48
annual pay $28,110.11
Average Municipal Court non-union employee at $13.92 per hour over 2,080 hours, $28,953.60 annually
2013 bonus of $1,300
family medical insurance $600
annual pay $29,653.60
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.