Borough employees have voted down a tentative agreement for a new three-year contract.
The Petersburg Municipal Employees Association voted Tuesday, March 20 on a three-year pact retroactive to last July and running through June of 2020. PMEA president Justin Haley Wednesday said a clear majority of the bargaining unit’s membership voted against it.
“Most of the feedback I’ve gotten is that we kind take a hit every time,” Haley said. “I think John Hoag even said that to the assembly that this is the second agreement that he’s negotiated for them. We took a loss last time and this is a loss for the majority again and I think people are just tired of it and hoping for more.”
The union represents the bulk of borough employees, around 80 positions in most departments except the electric utility. The borough assembly unanimously approved the tentative agreement earlier in March. It offered a two percent wage increase in the first year, no increase in the second year and the option for negotiating another hike in the third year. It also included additional wage increases to police officers, resident assistants at Mountain View Manor and facility specialists in the Parks and Recreation Department.
Borough manager Steve Giesbrecht Wednesday said he was disappointed to hear the decision but understood the frustration of employees.
“You know the marching orders we were given from the assembly were you know being very budget conscious and trying to make sure we can balance our budgets going forward so yeah the offer that was put out there was by no means a big windfall for the employees and I can understand their frustration but at the same time the borough is facing a lot of cuts from both federal and state funding and the money’s gotta come from somewhere so, back to the drawing board I guess,” Giesbrecht said.
Giesbrecht is checking with the borough’s attorney as well as former assembly member and attorney John Hoag to determine the next steps. Hoag has been representing the borough in negotiations with the union.
The PMEA has been working under the terms of their last three-year contract which ran through June of 2017.