By Phil Nobile
Continuing a trend of completed union contracts, the Town of Harrison recently came to terms with its CSEA crossing guards unit with on the first collective bargaining agreement for the group since becoming unionized. However, town officials could not provide specifics of the recent agreement.
The arrangement marks the fourth collective bargaining agreement made under current Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont, a Republican. Belmont, who ran for mayor first in 2011 and was re-elected last year on the promise of getting the contracts finalized, said the agreement was simply to recognize the crossing guards as a bargaining unit, and did not have any changes from prior years. The crossing guards only became a unionized group approximately five years ago, according to Personnel Manager Debra Scocchera.
“They’ve been trying to get that done since 2009,” Belmont said. “We’re not giving or taking anything away with the crossing guards; we just know that they are there now.”
The contract runs retroactively from Jan. 1, 2010 until Dec. 31, 2011. The town still must come to terms with the union for years 2012 and 2013. No indication from town officials was made if those talks have begun.
The agreement with the crossing guards, who have approximately 20 members, according to Belmont, is the third reached in less than three months.
On Oct. 3, 2013, the town came to terms with the CSEA, which consist of 60 town employees. Two weeks later, the town confirmed a new contract with the Local 456 chapter of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The Police Benevolent Association came to terms with the town in July 2012.
The two remaining unions–the firefighters and the CSEA supervisory unit–could be reached in the next month, according to Belmont. Both of those contracts expired at the end of last year.
The official agreement with the crossing guards has no changes in terms, according to Belmont. An annual stipend of $250 is also allotted to each guard for the purpose of uniforms and equipment. The 2010 and 2011 years called for two dollars to be added to the hourly rate of the crossing guards. The mayor could not say what the hourly rates included in the contract.
After the Harrison Review was directed to the Personnel Department, Scocchera was unable to provide hourly rates for the crossing guards as of press time.
Also in the agreement is the allowance of any crossing guard to be granted a year leave of absence, if needed. The leave must be approved by the Town Council and the employee will not receive any benefits from the town during the leave.
In terms of health insurance, the town offers contributions to employees working 20 or more hours per week. Health insurance contributions from the town will be given to one CSEA crossing guard employee who qualifies for the contribution.