City OKs pay raises, benefit packages for employees

Most union employees working for the city of Princeton are to receive a four percent wage increase this year, retroactive to January 1, while the unionized police officers will get raises in two phases of two percent effective January 1, and another 1.5 percent on July 1.

Supervisory staff (nonunion) will receive a four percent raise effective January 1 and will be responsible for additional insurance costs.

The city council approved the contracts at its January 3 monthly study session.

City Administrator Mark Karnowski told the council that the health insurance premium increase for the city this year was 19 percent.

“With that sizable increase, staff has been negotiating a total benefit increase rather than split the city’s cost between insurance and wages,” Karnowski said.

However, the two unions – Law Enforcement Labor Services (LELS), and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) – took a different approach, Karnowski said.

Karnowski explained that the police department’s LELS members, which are non supervisory, agreed to a two percent wage increase effective Jan. 1, 2013, and a 1.5 percent raise on July 1.

The city’s contribution to both the LELS and AFSCME employees’ health insurance will stay the same as it was in 2012, meaning those employees will pay the 19 percent premium increase.


Mandatory furloughs

Part of the negotiated contracts has to do with mandatory furloughs. Several years ago the city instituted mandatory 40 hours per year furloughs for all the full-time city employees. That meant having to take 40 hours off without pay during the year. The move was to help balance the city budget in light of cutbacks in state aid.

Part of the union contract settlement for this year is that the LELS employees will only be required to take a 20-hour furlough, but will also have the option to take a second 20-hour furlough before 2013 ends.

The AFSCME employees will still have the mandatory 40-hour furlough