Bainbridge finalizes contract with city hall employees

Most employees at Bainbridge Island City Hall will pay more for their health care insurance next year under a proposed contract between the city and one of its union.

The city council will consider the three-year agreement, and possibly approve it, at the council's next meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 17.

The union contract will cover 63 employees, including planners, court clerks, public works crews and others.

The agreement between the city and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District Lodge 160 spans the time period from Jan. 1, 2012 to Dec. 31, 2014.

During the life of the contract, city employees will pay more for their health insurance premiums. In the first year of the agreement, the city will cover 100 percent of staff health insurance premiums, and 90 percent of spouses' in 2012. Starting in 2013, however, employees will pay 5 percent of their own premiums and 15 percent of the premiums of theirĀ  spouses or significant others.

The city will pay 100 percent of the costs for dental and vision health coverage for employees and their families.

Regular salaries will also be modified by the new contract. City employees will receive a pay raise of 1.5 percent that will retroactively kick in on July 1, 2012.

Employees who are asked to cover other jobs will also get more pay. Workers who are shifted to another job classification for more than a day will receive "out of class" pay; an additional 5 percent increase in their hourly rate.

The new contract also includes education benefits. At the discretion of the city manager, employees may attend college classes and be reimbursed for tuition and book expenses. Employees must pass courses with a grade of "C" or better to be eligible for reimbursement.

Strikes are highly discouraged in the proposed agreement. The union and its members agree not to stop or slow down city work. The city may also discipline or discharge employees who break the contract's strike clause, while the city also agrees not to lock out any employees.

The council's next meeting is 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17.

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