Thu. Dec 1st, 2022

And although both sides are mum on the slow-going police contract negotiations, a new labor pact with another group of employees may indicate Mayor Joe Ganim’s administration is preparing to assume a larger share of the health care burden for not just the cops but the rest of the city workforce.

Earlier this month the labor relations office forwarded for City Council approval a new four-year contract for around 115 public facilities employees who maintain the roads, parks and handle sanitation — retroactive to July 1, 2020. Tucked within are alterations to health benefits implemented around a decade ago under then-Mayor Bill Finch in an effort by his administration at the time to save taxpayer dollars.

Under Finch, a Democrat like Ganim, Bridgeport municipal workers began paying more for their health care premiums, starting at 25 percent and increasing 1 percent annually to a maximum 50 percent contribution cap. So, for example, in the case of the public facilities union in question, members are now paying 35 percent of their insurance.

The recent deal offered those 115 staffers would maintain that 1 percent-per-year increase, but cap the top contribution rate at 33 percent, and also roll back what those employees have been paying so they start fresh again with a base 25 percent contribution.

The significance of that change is not lost on members of the all-Democrat council’s contracts committee, who will be reviewing the pact in the coming weeks, or on that legislative body’s president, Aidee Nieves.

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