Franklin ends impasse with highway workers

VERMONTVILLE - The Franklin Town Board and the Teamsters Union, which represents the seven employees of the town highway department, have agreed on contractual terms for the next three years.

Late last year, the town had declared contract negotiations were at an impasse after common ground could not be reached between the parties.

Franklin Highway employees will receive a 2 percent pay increase this year and successive 2.5 percent increases the following two years.

The seven percent overall pay hike for the three-year period is only a single percentage point higher than the cash-strapped town had initially offered, but significantly less than the 18 percent increase that highway employees had sought.

Franklin Town Supervisor Art Willman said that the negotiations ended on a positive note and represent a good sign for the future.

"It's a good contract for everyone," he said. "It sets a positive tone for things to come."

As part of the agreement, the town conceded an increased allowance for the purchase of work clothing, and employees will be able to purchase their clothing and other necessary supplies from IBC Supply on a voucher system that includes at least a five percent discount. In return, employees will continue to pay 15 percent of their health insurance costs, be subject to a more rigorous attendance policy and must use $150 of the clothing allowance to purchase heavy-duty steel-toed boots.

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