Wage Freeze for Public Works Employees

Macomb, IL – Macomb's public works employees have agreed to forgo a pay raise for this year.

The wage freeze is included in a new three-year contract. Wages and health insurance considerations for the second and third years will be negotiated later.

The beginning date of the pact is May 1, 2010.

The contract covers more than 25 workers. Union members ratified it on April 29. The city council approved it on a vote of 6-to-0 on May 3.

Aldermen Ryan Hansen, Dave Dorsett, and Clay Hinderliter were absent from the meeting.

Fourth Ward Alderman Mike Inman believes the agreement is fair to both sides.

"It gives everybody an opportunity to look at the financial situation a year or two from now and decide what's the best course of action for both of us," Inman said.

The city says the agreement replaces the old step system with a new one that concentrates on giving steps to newer, lower paid employees, while freezing the older, higher paid employees.

In addition, the schedule has been modified for older employees eligible for longevity pay. They will now receive a flat increase of $500 rather than percentage increases.

The city says the new contract will no longer limit the number of comp hours used per year, subject to management approval.

For any retired employee who is eligible for Medicare and is still on the City's health insurance plan, the amount of benefits from the City's plan will be reduced by the benefits available through Medicare, regardless if the benefits from Medicare are actually received.

Mayor Mick Wisslead praised the agreement and the employees.

"Our workers saw the situation that we're in and stepped up to the plate and we're very, very proud that they did that for us," Wisslead said.