Somers highway workers forgo raises to save jobs
In an effort to save jobs slated to be cut in 2009, workers at the Somers Highway Department decided to forgo raises under a new agreement between their union and the town.
Under the proposed 2009 budget, which totals $13 million, the town board was looking at eliminating three positions from the highway department. With a staff of only 16, the loss of three people could have had a negative effect on the department?s daily operations.
In order to avoid these cuts, the Teamsters union, which represents highway workers, agreed to give up raises next year so the money could be used to save the jobs.
"We decided to give the town a three-year salary freeze to keep the manpower as much as we possibly could," says Arnold Guyot, the union?s shop steward.
Highway department workers are not the only ones going without pay increases this year. The town's elected officials have also decided to pass on their raises in order to give taxpayers a break.
The new contract with the Teamsters will result in $150,000 to $160,000 in savings.