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Newington Workers Settle Contract

Combining solidarity with political and public engagement, Newington public service workers finally have a new collective bargaining agreement in place.

Members of Local 2930, representing 175 town and board of education employees, overwhelmingly ratified the four-year contract in late September. The Newington Town Council unanimously approved the agreement Oct. 8.

“It was not an easy process, but in the end we reached an agreement that’s fair to everyone and protects the services our members proudly provide to Newington residents and businesses,” said Local 2930 President Joe Cirigliano.

The union represents custodial and maintenance staff, library employees, school kitchen staff, clerical employees, school bus drivers, engineering, highway and parks workers.

The new agreement includes general wage increases totaling 8 percent over four years and limits the town’s ability to expand the use of temporary and seasonal labor and to sub-contract work unilaterally across all departments.

“We couldn’t let the employer create a low-wage workforce with no rights and no accountability to the taxpayers,” said Cirigliano, who works as a groundskeeper.

The previous collective bargaining agreement between the Town and Local 2930 expired in June, 2012. When negotiations for a successor agreement stalled in the summer, the Town declared impasse and sought binding arbitration.

Knowing a settlement was in reach, Local 2930 members mobilized to make sure their voices were heard, and their services appreciated.

They packed Town Council meetings wearing their green AFSCME t-shirts, took out a full page advertisement in Newington Life and turned out in force as they do every year for the always popular “Touch a Truck” event, a hands-on event that allows kids young and old to touch, honk horns and climb on town vehicles, such as back hoes, fire trucks, police cruisers, pay loaders, dump trucks and deck mowers and more.

“Touch a Truck” also kicked off the Newington Library’s Summer Reading Program, headed by Local 2930 Executive Board member Michelle Royer, who exemplifies the spirit of public service that was at the center of the union’s campaign for a fair contract.

“I work and live here. I love what I do,” said Royer, children’s librarian at the Lucy Robbins Welles Library. “I want the kids to be excited about reading.”

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