MONROE, CT — Clerical Union employees agreed to a wage, stipend and step freeze to help the town avoid raising taxes at a time when many residents are out of work during the Covid-19 pandemic.
First Selectman Ken Kellogg negotiated the agreement with the Monroe Chapter 136-1, Local 136, IFPTE, and the Town Council granted its unanimous approval at its meeting Monday night.
“I think we all express our immense thanks to this union for helping us in this difficult situation,” said Town Councilwoman Dee Dee Martin.
Kellogg and Town Council members Jennifer Aguilar and Jason Maur said they concurred with Martin’s sentiments before the 9-0 vote to approve the agreement.
The Board of Finance approved a $90 million town budget with a 0.29 percent cut to the rate of taxation last week.
To avoid raising taxes without eliminating jobs and services, the board dipped into the undesignated fund balance to use $8 million, used another $500,000 from a designated fund balance and asked unions for teachers and town employees to forgo raises for one year.
The 2020-21 budget assumes the unions will agree to forgo raises for one year, but that has yet to happen.
The teachers union is currently in negotiations with the school district.
On the town side, the Clerical Union has now agreed, leaving three more unions pending. If all agree, it will save $451,817.
If teachers do not agree to forgo $1,038,898 worth of raises, the Board of Education will have to make some difficult decisions.
Acting Superintendent of Schools Joseph Kobza shared a list of reductions with the school board Monday night, which includes things like cutting four reading teachers, a music teacher, a full-time equivalent library media specialist, raising athletic surcharges at Masuk and eliminating its culinary program.