Providence strikes new union contract with Local 1033

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Members of one of Providence’s largest municipal employee unions have struck a deal with the Elorza administration that guarantees them small pay raises in exchange for more management flexibility over the next four years.

Emily Crowell, a spokesperson for the mayor, confirmed Local 1033 of the Laborers’ International Union ratified two agreements last week:  a one-year contract that covers July 1, 2018, until June 30, 2019; and a three-year pact that spans from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2022.

The agreement still requires a public hearing and City Council approval.

“I’m pleased to report that the city and the Local Union 1033 have reached a tentative agreement that is truly beneficial to all parties,” Elorza said in a statement last week. “This agreement allows for structural savings and long-term investments in our employees while putting Providence on a sustainable path in future years.”

Local 1033 has more than 1,600 members working across city government, including the Department of Public Works, parks department, City Hall and the school department. The union’s last contract expired June 30.

Under the terms each deal, released by the city Monday, union members will receive no pay increase in the current year, followed by 2% raises each in 2019 and 2020 and a 3% increase in 2021. The agreement also changes the structure of healthcare co-share costs.

A fiscal impact note will likely be provided to the City Council Finance Committee at a meeting this month.

On the management side, the city can restructure the way overtime is offered – including a prohibition on employees receiving overtime pay within 24 hours of calling out sick – and has more freedom to modernize job descriptions.

“We are pleased that we have a tentative agreement that is a win, win for our members as well as the city of Providence,” Ron Coia, the business manager of Local 1033, said in a statement.

Elorza held a private signing of the agreement with Coia and other union officials Monday.

The deal marks the second major union contract Elorza has announced since being re-elected last month.

Elorza also reached a tentative agreement with the Providence Teachers Union after members worked under an expired deal for more than a year. That deal also requires City Council approval.

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Dan McGowan (dmcgowan@wpri.com) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan

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