There is a significant gap between Keokuk and some of its union employees as contract negotiations get underway.
The city has exchanged initial offers with representatives of the Teamsters Local #238, which represents employees in the police department, the wastewater treatment plant and the general unit.
The city is seeking a one-year contract with each group of employees. Each offer calls for a wage freeze for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2012.
The proposal to the general unit, which includes employees in the streets, sewer, and parks departments, only looks at wages.
The city is looking for several other changes to the current contracts for the police department and for the wastewater treatment plant. One of the most significant is that employees in both unions would pay more towards their health insurance policies.
In the police proposal, the city also wants to change the language regarding overtime assignments, vacation limits, sick leave accumulation, and funeral leave time.
In the wastewater proposal, the city also wants to address emergency call-in procedures and holiday, vacation, and sick leave accumulation.
By contrast, the general unit and the employees in the wastewater treatment plant are seeking one year contracts with a five-percent wage hike effective July 1.
Keokuk’s police officers are looking for a three-year contract with a five-percent increase during each year of the deal.
The police officers would also like to see changes to sick leave accumulation, comp time designation, and the requirement that they live in the city.
Wastewater treatment plant employees are seeking changes to vacation time and how disputes are settled.
The negotiations can now move behind closed doors.