City Workers Accept 6% Raise, Avert Strike

City utility and convention center workers will receive a 6% pay raise under a 39-month contract, reached this month after a year of negotiations that almost ended in a strike.

The employees, who picketed several times during the negotiations, will receive a 3% pay increase this month and a second 3% raise in December 1999. The contract, retroactive to April 1997, was approved this week by the City Council.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 47, represents 187 city employees, most of whom are electric and water utility workers. Stan Stosel, union business representative, said workers were willing to approve the contract to avoid a strike.

The new contract also allows employees to retire at 55, instead of 60, and receive a higher retirement income, effective July 2000. Mechanics who maintain high-voltage power lines will receive bonuses each year of the contract--totaling $6,000--as incentive to remain with the city over the next three years.

The contract will cost the city about $1.4 million.

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