Covington & employees reach contract agreement

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - After two years of negotiations, the City of Covington has reached contract agreements with the three labor unions representing police officers, firefighters, and other city employees.

Members of FOP and Local 38 firefighters union approved the contracts on Thursday. American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees is expected to approve it next week.

The three labor contracts expired at the end of 2010; negotiations actually began prior to the expiration of the contracts.

Approximately 80% of City of Covington employees are represented by the three labor unions.

The four-year contracts include annual pay raises from 1.5% to 3%.

The city received a key concession on health insurance in all three contracts to provide a basic deductible as well as an 80/20 co-insurance feature up to a reasonable maximum out-of-pocket amount.

Employees also will pay an increase in premiums, depending on the plan option elected.

These "managed-care features" will save the city millions of dollars in the coming years, Mayor Scheper said.

Mayor Scheper pointed out that the city's 70 non-union employees have been paying higher health insurance premiums and deductibles for years, which has assisted the city with its financial position: a concession city leaders widely recognize and appreciate.

Steve Casper, Steve Frank and Shawn Masters are unified in their support of the contract and will approve the agreements during the April 17 City Commission meeting.

"We estimate that these new labor agreements, on a net basis, will save the city approximately $10 million over the next five years, or about half of the projected budget shortfall," Scheper said.

Copyright 2012 WXIX. All rights reserved.