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NARRAGANSETTâ€”The town council passed a motion to approve and authorize three-year collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) with Local 1033 of the Rhode Island Laborersâ€™ District Council and Local 1589 of the International Association of Firefighters. Both agreements are the culmination of a number of meetings which have taken place over the past months to gather input from town employees and firefighters.
With the growing public concern over state and local pension plans and State Treasurer Gina Raimondoâ€™s recent pension proposal, the town of Narragansett has taken steps towards easing their individual fiscal issues, and the approval of the collective bargaining agreements for town workers and firefighters is a beginning step.
â€śAll of us are dealing with these issues at the same time,â€ť said Town Manager Grady Miller. â€śThe biggest challenge is trying to address the financial concerns of the town while understanding how not to hurt our employees. Itâ€™s about striking a balance.â€ť
The town hired Nyhart, an independent actuary and employee benefits consulting firm, in April to review the current pension plan and detail possibilities for future action, and the CBAs are in part a product of that consultation.
Each firefighter under Local 1589 will receive a 2.5 percent lump-sum payment in the 2010-11 fiscal year based upon base wages only, and will receive 1 and 1.5 percent wage increases on Dec. 1 and June 30, 2011, and also on Jan. 1 and June 30, 2013.
Other contract provisions include the elimination of compensatory time as of Dec.1, 2011, a benefit which currently costs the town $150,000 annually. Firefighters will contribute 9.5 percent as of Dec. 1, 2011 and 10 percent as of Jan. 1, 2013 to the townâ€™s pension plan. Newly hired employees who retire at 20 years cannot collect their pension until three years later, 23 years from their start date.
For more information pick up a copy of the Narragansett Times