SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

January 29, 2013

Salem police, AFSCME agree to contracts

BY TOM DALTON
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — The Police Patrolmen’s Association and another large city union will get 6 percent pay hikes spread over the next three fiscal years in contracts that also slash controversial and costly sick leave buybacks.

Beginning this month, new hires in the police union and AFSCME Local 1818 will not be eligible for sick leave buybacks at retirement, which often amount to thousands of dollars for unused sick time. This fiscal year alone, those costs exceed $700,000, according to the city.

The new contracts eliminate the large, and often unexpected, checks upon retirement and limit workers to buying back two days each year at lower rates and only if the employee has used less than half of his or her sick days.

The 82-member AFSCME local includes clerical workers and employees from the DPW, cemetery and park departments. The police union has 61 members.

These contracts mirror a recent deal with firefighters.

“This new contract provides for a fair and reasonable wage increase, while also curbing costly sick leave buyback policies that will save both the city and taxpayers money moving forward,” Mayor Kim Driscoll said in a statement.

The contracts includes another small savings achieved by requiring direct deposit of paychecks.

Both contracts run through fiscal year 2014.