Wrangell Borough, union reach amended contract agreement

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers representative Julius Matthew walked the picket line with Wrangell municipal workers Lorne Cook, Dwight Yancey and Andrew Scambler before the strike ended. (Photo courtesy IBEW)

The Wrangell Borough Assembly approved an amended contract with union employees during a special meeting Thursday, ending what have been contentious negotiations with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

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Union members went on strike June 22 after the Assembly approved a contract that the union had rejected. The strike ended when both sides agreed to return to the bargaining table.

The amendment approved Thursday is the result of those continued talks. Before Thursday’s vote, Interim Borough Manager Carol Rushmore gave a rundown of what the amendment does.

Rushmore said the contract already approved by the Assembly provides a 75-cents-per-hour wage increase and modifies some wage levels for union employees.

It also had all employees paying 15 percent of their health insurance premium costs.

“The difference between that contract and the contract before you is that, instead of all employees paying 15 percent, those that were hired before 2011 will be paying 10 percent, and those hired after January 2011 will be paying the full 15 percent, still,” Rushmore said.

Rushmore said the amended contract will cost about $12,000 to $15,000 more than the earlier version.

Wrangell’s Borough Assembly approved the modified contract in a 6-1 vote with Mark Mitchell voting no.

Union members ratified the agreement on Monday.

24 Wrangell utility and other employees are represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Another 35 management and non-union staffers also work for the borough.

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