Council Approves ‘Fair’ Salary Increases for Engineers

Haverhill city councilors Tuesday night approved a two-year, retroactive contract agreement between the city and its engineering group, Teamsters Local 170.

Council Vice President Robert H. Scatamacchia said he believed the contract package, including 1.5 percent annual salary increases, is “a fair plan.”

“They’ve been without a contract for a couple of years. And certainly they were due. You know they’ve been very shorthanded. And its in an important part of the city when you have the development that’s going on downtown. They certainly contribute to a great extent to make sure that there’s not a lot of encroachment by some of the developers, so the contract is well worth it.”

According to Scatamacchia, the union group, consisting of the positions of junior draftsperson, senior engineering aide and assistant civil engineer, had gone without a new contract for three years. The latest agreement covers the period from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2014.

When asked whether more timely agreements can be reached for the next contract period, Scatamacchia said he was hopeful, but noted negotiations can become extended given the number of bargaining units among city workers.

“Sometimes these contracts become difficult to negotiate, and retroactive is a necessity.”

The contract also provides the engineering group an increased travel mileage reimbursement rate to 44 cents per mile and revises health insurance language reflecting the city’s joining the state Group Insurance Commission (GIC) plans since the prior bargaining agreement.