Lehigh Valley

Bethlehem Township approves 3-year contracts for municipal, police unions

BETHLEHEM TWP., Pa. - The Bethlehem Township Board of Commissioners Monday approved new 3-year public works employees and police union contracts, which include pay raises beginning next year and health-insurance deductible hikes effective January 2020.

The latest employment contract starting next month for 25 township American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) public works and physical plants departments provides raises of 1, 2, and 3 percent, respectively, for each of the next three years. Cumulatively as a result, a township truck driver would earn an additional $541 in 2018, $1,102 in 2019, and $1,706 in 2020, according to a statement released by township management.

Raises for the 32 officers on the township’s police department each of the next three years will amount to 2.75 percent, 3 percent and 3.5 percent. The average annual pay increase for a senior patrolman will be $2,087 for 2018, $2,339 for 2019 and $2,810 in 2020.

Township assistant Manager Doug Bruce, in a statement about healthcare contributions, specified that currently workers in both unions contribute a $50 per month co-pay for single coverage and $100 monthly for those with families. Under the newly negotiated contract, deductibles will increase to $75 for single coverage and $150 for families, beginning January 2020.

Bruce noted that for both police and municipal employees, the average annual family medical premium cost is $28,432 ,or $11,859 for single coverage.

Additionally, he said that, for AFSCME workers, the overall budget impact for the township will be $18,000, while the police department will add $84,000 to the township's payroll expenses.

Bruce pointed out there will be no changes next year in pension benefits or contributions, and the three-month long negotiations between the unions and township management were conducted smoothly and with a high level of professionalism.

Finally, he said the 2018 budget includes 2-percent raises for township management and non-union employees. 

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