The City of Johnstown now has contracts in place with its three unions that will be staggered, as opposed to all running on the same timetable.
Separate agreements with the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 463 Johnstown Professional Firefighters; Flood City Fraternal Order of Police #86; and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 630 concluded on Dec. 31.
Johnstown and AFSCME, which represents public works and parking, reached a three-year deal. Firefighters signed a five-year contract. A four-year agreement between the city and police force, retroactive to Jan. 1, was ratified by Johnstown City Council during its February meeting.
“It’s a challenge to manage negotiating three collective bargaining agreements simultaneously,” interim City Manager John Trant Jr. said. “It was council’s desire to stagger these agreements so that future years wouldn’t be this challenging in terms of the ability to manage the collective bargaining process if we could do one at a time.”
Trant said the process produced a “good end result for the city and for the bargaining unit employees.”
Representatives for all three unions spoke positively about the negotiations.
“In the end, we’re happy where we’re at with it, especially with the five years,” Eric Miller, president of the firefighters’ union, said. “I think that will be a big plus for both sides.”
IAFF Local 463 represents 34 firelighters – six part-time, 28 full-time. There are 27 AFSCME members and 40 police officers. All received 2% raises per year for the life of their contracts.
No major changes were made with the city needing to comply with guidelines for participation in Pennsylvania’s Act 47 program for distressed municipalities.
“It’s been hard to negotiate heavily because of the Act 47 and how everything is,” said Brock Peracchino, the former AFSCME president who helped with the contract process. “But, overall, they haven’t been horrible, horrible. It’s still been decent contracts. They can’t really give us too much. They’ve been good the past years.”
Sgt. Michael Plunkard, who was on the negotiating committee for the police contract, added: “We knew what to expect being that the city’s been in that distressed status for so long and they’re bound by the recovery plan. We kind of knew what we were looking at going into it before we even started negotiations. It’s not like we were looking for a whole lot going into the door.”