Escanaba OKs contract with electric workers

ESCANABA — Escanaba City Council approved a labor agreement for the city’s electrical employees following a closed session at Thursday’s regular council meeting. Union members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) have been working for the city without a contract since July 1, 2017.

The new agreement is effective from March 1, 2018, to June 30, 2020, and includes an immediate 6 percent salary increase for the length of the contract, pending the union’s approval of the contract’s language, explained City Manager Patrick Jordan this morning.

Negotiations between the city administration and union representatives included assistance from a state mediator. A Michigan Employment Relations Commission fact-finding on comparable wages and pensions was also conducted.

Labor agreements were reached last year with the four other unions representing city employees including public works clerical staff, water/wastewater workers, public safety command, and police officers and dispatchers.

Each of these four contracts are three-year pacts which include a 2-percent cost-of-living annual wage increase effective for the 2017-2018, 2018-2019, and 2019-2020 fiscal years.

Escanaba’s budget includes 2-percent wage increases for non-union administrators for the current fiscal year. The city is currently working on its 2018-2019 budget which begins July 1, 2018.