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North Royalton union, nonunion workers receive 2.5 percent raises this year, 2 percent raises in 2019 and 2020

September 25, 2018

North Royalton union, nonunion workers receive 2.5 percent raises this year, 2 percent raises in 2019 and 2020

NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio -- The city’s firefighters, police officers and sergeants, wastewater and service workers, corrections and animal control officers, and police maintenance and records staff will receive 2.5 percent raises in 2018 and 2 percent raises in both 2019 and 2020.

The pay increases are included in a slew of new three-year collective bargaining agreements recently approved by City Council.

The city’s nonunion full-time workers -- including Building Commissioner Dan Kulchytsky, Assistant Law Director Donna Vozar, office managers, inspectors, secretaries and clerical workers -- will also receive 2.5 percent raises in 2018, as will the city’s part-time workers. Their agreements cover this year only.

City Finance Director Eric Dean estimates that the raises will cost the city about $254,000 a year in additional wages.

The city will also contribute more toward employee health insurance premiums, but employees will pay more, too, due to rising healthcare costs.

In addition, the city will deposit $1,900 this year into health-savings accounts for each employee. The accounts are to make up for a rise in the insurance deductible -- the amount in medical expenses employees must pay each year before their insurance kicks in -- from $800 to $2,700 in 2018. Deductibles for 2019 and 2020 haven’t been determined.

In effect, the new health-savings accounts mean that employees’ healthcare exposure -- their costs in deductibles, copays and other out-of-pocket expenses -- will remain $800 for a family plan in 2018. The exposure limit will rise to $1,200 in 2019 and $1,300 in 2020.

For firefighters alone, the city will pay $599,455 for healthcare insurance and health-savings accounts in 2018, Dean said, an increase of 1 percent over the amount the city paid in 2017 for firefighters’ healthcare.

And, if employee healthcare exposure rises beyond the limits set in the contracts, the city will contribute additional money into the health-savings accounts or reimburse firefighters in some other way, Dean said.

It hasn’t been determined how much the city will contribute to employee health-savings accounts in 2019 and 2020.

Meanwhile, the amount employees pay for a family health insurance plan will increase from $180 a month last year to $199 in 2018, $210 in 2019 and $220 in 2020.

Nonunion workers will receive the same healthcare benefits as union workers, Dean said, but only for 2018 as of now. Part-time workers are provided no healthcare benefits.

Negotiation trendsetters

Firefighters were the first group of city employees to reach a new agreement. In the first quarter of this year, negotiations between the city and firefighters stalled due to a disagreement over healthcare coverage.

At the time, the city wanted to give firefighters the right to reopen wage talks if their out-of-pocket healthcare costs rose too high. Firefighters overwhelmingly rejected that idea, saying that any increases in wages might not match skyrocketing medical insurance deductibles.

Due to the stalemate, the Ohio State Employment Relations Board appointed fact finder Jonathan Klein to mediate a settlement. His report, issued March 5, was accepted by the city but rejected by firefighters.

Vozar said SERB then ordered the city and firefighters to the next step, which was conciliation. In May, prior to reaching that step, both parties negotiated a settlement.

Contracts and agreements with the remainder of union and nonunion workers followed over the next two months or so.

The wage reopener that the city initially proposed was not included in the final contract.

Dollars & cents

Under the new contracts, by 2020, firefighters will earn between $23.33 and $38.10 an hour. Fire Department lieutenants will earn between $34.01 and $42.36 an hour.

Police officers will earn between $29.44 and $36.39 an hour in 2020. Officers assigned K-9 handling duties will receive an additional $500 a year. Police sergeants will earn $42.22 an hour in 2020.

The pay range for animal control officers and police records and maintenance staff will range from $17.68 to $23.36 an hour in 2020.

That same year, Wastewater and Service Department workers will earn between $27.22 and $37.34 an hour.

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