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Easton City approves 13.5% wage hike for union workers in 5-year contract

By Tom De Martini, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 23 2013 11:02:08 PM CDT
EASTON, Pa. -

Easton City Council approved a 13.5% wage increase over a five-year period Wednesday night for 82 city workers who are members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

The AFSMCE-represented workers are members of Easton's Public Works Department, police department clerks, clerks and code inspectors working inside City Hall and waste water treatment plant employees.

The five-year pact includes 2013 and provides a 2% raise in the first year, followed by increases of 2.5% in the second year and 3% pay hikes in years three through five.

City Administrator Glenn Steckman said the unionized city workers will pay an additional .5% increase in health care costs in the third year of the contract and see a reduction in accrued vacation time.

Easton Mayor Sal Panto, Jr. thanked the union for its good working relationship with the city.

"Easton works because they do," Panto said. "It really was a productive and positive discussion on the contract. Both sides went to the bargaining table and it's not personal. It's the best group of employees I've ever had."

In other business, city council adopted a resolution urging Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform laws.

"This Congress needs to start legislating and do what they need to do," said Panto, who attended a pro-immigration rally in Easton Centre Square Tuesday. "It's the worst they've looked in many years. Fortunately, Mr.(Matthew) Cartwright (D-17th District) has supported immigration reform. Mr. (Charlie) Dent (R-15th District) has not."

Councilman Jeff Warren said that nobody living in the city should have to hide in the shadows.

"We have tough problems in the city," Panto said. "It should not be hard for people to have a legal pathway for people to become citizens."