Raises return for Muskego city workers
But benefits require health insurance premium payments
Muskego - After getting no raises last year, Muskego municipal employees will receive a 2 percent raise retroactive to Jan. 1.
The raises and compensation package approved by the Muskego Common Council decided this week applies to all employees except police, who still have full collective bargaining power under the state's Act 10 law and have reached a separate accord with the city.
For most employees
As part of the related benefits package, employees will pay varying amounts of their health insurance premiums, depending on whether they participated in the new health risk assessment program last year.
Those who did will contribute 9 percent of monthly health insurance premiums for the remainder of the year and 10 percent beginning in January 2013. Those who didn't will pay 12 percent of premiums this year and 13 percent beginning in January, unless the participate in the health assessment this year.
Act 10 - which stripped away most collective bargaining ability from public employee unions - had state employees pay 12.6 percent of health insurance premiums, although many municipalities, including Muskego, didn't go that far.
A substantial financial slam will come for Muskego's retirees, who no longer will be able to use unused sick time to pay for continued health or dental insurance. Several years ago, the Common Council approved a plan allowing retirees to use sick time for insurance.
The new rules apply to administrators, as well.
Meanwhile, the police union reached a two-year accord with the city. The contract for 2012 and 2013 gives police raises of 3.5 percent a year, but with the new pension and higher health contributions, the raise amounts to 0.5 percent each year, Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti said.
Officials are pleased that police will now start paying into the Wisconsin Retirement System toward their pensions, Chiaverotti added.
"That was the goal of the council," she said.
The police contribution will be 2.95 percent of the monthly WRS premium. That will rise to the full employee contribution, projected to be 6 percent in 2013.
Police also will pay more toward health insurance - from a little more than 6 percent last year to 9 percent this year and 10 percent in 2013. In addition, the city has implemented several changes in its health insurance plan, which encourages more consumer-driven decisions through increased deductibles, increased office visit co-pays, and increased drug co-pays.
The city and the police union were able to reach the contract settlement without mediation. The pact is consistent with the wage and benefit packages provided to police department employees in comparable communities, Chiaverotti said in a news release announcing the settlement.
"We believe it will allow the city to continue to attract and retain high quality employees," she said.
She paid tribute to the police union for its concessions in the areas of WRS contributions and health insurance cost sharing.
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