New employees within the Harrison Police Department will make 10 percent less for one year and will pay into their health insurance for at least 10 more years than current employees as part of a memorandum agreement reached between the town and local police union last week.
The agreement between the Town of Harrison and the Harrison PBA was signed on July 27, but will still need to be ratified with votes from the police union's membership and the Harrison Town Board. It creates a new two-tier system with separate structures for employed union members before and after July 1, 2012.
Salaries for union members employed before that date will increase 12.75 percent over the next five years as part of the agreement. The salary rates for new hires was not disclosed in the public document supplied by the the town. F last week will fall under the new tier in the agreement.
One of the most impactful changes for new hires will be within the healthcare aspect of the agreement. New employees will pay 25 percent of their health benefits for the first 15 years of active duty. After that rates will be re-negotiated "based upon the conditions and circumstances in effect at or around the time" the employees reach the 15-year mark.
Current union members pay 25 percent into their medical benefits for only the first five years of employment. That policy will remain the same for employees who were with the department before July 1.
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In this agreement, medical co-payments for all non-new hires will jump 100 percent by Jan. 1, 2014. Basic co-payments, currently set at $4, can not exceed $6 by the start of 2013, but must reach $8—or a 100 percent increase—by 2014, according to the memorandum. More expensive co-payments will follow the same model.
Co-payments for officers hired after July 1 have not been released publicly.
The town board has been negotiating the healthcare provisions within local union contracts since coming to in 2010. To close a $1 million gap in that year's budget, unions agreed to push-back pay increases from 2010 to be paid off between 2012 and 2015. At the time, board members said they expected to reach agreements changing union healthcare provisions that would help balance the deferred payments when they went out starting this year.
The agreement makes the PBA the first major union to come to terms with the town since 2010. There are no agreements in place between the town and other local unions including the CSEA and Teamsters.
Harrison Mayor/Supervisor Ron Belmont declined to comment on the agreement with the police union at this time, saying town is still in negotiations with the other unions.
The Harrison Police Department's union representative did not return a call seeking comment. Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini called the agreement fair, adding that coming to terms with the town allowed the department to begin making new hires and avoided arbitration, which could have been painful for both sides.
The 12.75 percent salary increase for employees who were part of the union before July 1 will be phased in, starting with a 2.25 percent raise in 2013. These employees will receive a 2.5 percent raise in 2015 and 2016, followed by 2.75 percent raises in 2016 and 2017.