Anoka settles contract with water, sewer workers

The city of Anoka has approved a union labor contract with its water and sewer workers.

The contract unanimously supported by the Anoka City Council is consistent with others already settled by the city, as well as with its non-union staff.

The two-year contract is for 2011 and 2012. The city had zero wage and benefit increases in 2011.

“There were obviously some cost issues, so it was kind of what we would term as a tough year of negotiations,” said Deb Erar, human resources director, of the two-year contracts being settled well into the second year.

“This has been a difficult process and we’ve been through difficult times,” said Mayor Phil Rice. “The city has worked hard to resolve these issues with our employees and we appreciate the work that they do and we appreciate them hanging in there.”

Erar said this is the fourth unit of organized labor the city has made an agreement with, leaving two outstanding.

In 2012 workers did receive a 1 percent raise on Jan. 1 and will receive another 1 percent in July. Erar said this was very conservative compared with other cities in the area.

“We were definitely within a very responsible spending amount compared with many other cities,” said Erar.

There are increases in the amount the city will contribute to employee’s health care premiums, starting in 2012. The city has also introduced a four-tiered health care premium system. In 2012 the city is contributing $650 per month toward health care premiums for single coverage, $675 for single plus one or single plus children and $950 for family contributions.

City contributions for the high deductible health care coverage premiums are $1,800 for single, $1,950 for single plus one or single plus family and $2,100 for family.

“We did agree with this particular group to review wage market data for 2013 and 2014 during our next contract negotiations,” said Erar.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]