WATERLOO --- The two smallest labor unions representing city government employees have opened talks on new collective bargaining agreements.
Members of Communication Workers of America, representing 29 library workers, and Teamsters Local 238, which covers 20 clerical staff, made their initial contract offers Monday for new labor agreements to replace the current three-year contracts expiring June 30.
The Teamsters have proposed new four-year contracts with 3.5 percent wage increases each year and an additional vacation day for every five years an employee works beyond 20 years.
Currently, a Clerk I covered under the contract earns $34,194 a year, while the police property/evidence technician makes $39,728.
CWA workers did not make a wage request in their proposal for a three-year contract but indicated they would make an offer on salaries when they enter closed-door negotiations with the city. Currently, a library aide at bottom of pay scale makes $35,900 a year while a Librarian I at the top makes $50,003 annually.
The library employees also are seeking changes in the procedures for layoffs and grievances; additional pay for working with the library is closed on holidays; and the addition of "significant other" to the list of relatives for which funeral leave can be taken.
Neither side is asking for any changes in health insurance.
The other three city bargaining units --- Municipal Laborers Local 353, Waterloo Police Protective Association and Waterloo Association of Professional Fire Fighters --- make contract offers last month. Those unions represent a combined 370 city employees.
The city is expected to make counter offers to all five bargaining units Nov. 15 before going into closed-door negotiations to hammer out new contracts. Under Iowa law, a failure by the city and its unions to reach a new contract through negotiations could lead to binding arbitration.