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Pennsylvania State, city workers settle.

About 12,000 employees were covered by a settlement between the State of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Social Services Union, ending a 20-day work stoppage. The settlement came when parties agreed to study the possibility of ending a two-tier paid vacation and paid personal leave plan under which employees hired after July 1, 1985, receive less time off than those hired earlier. Also important in ending the stalemate was the State's decision to drop its proposal for a two-tier pay system.

The 3-year contract provides for wage increases of 4.1 percent effective immediately, I percent in January 1989, 5 percent in July of 1989 and 1990, and I percent in January 1991. Current employees will also receive 1.25percent longevity increases in January of 1990 and 1991 and a 3.15-percent one-time increase will go to employees with fewer than 7 years of service on January 1, 1989. Under the expired contract, salaries reportedly averaged $28,593 for supervisors and $23,434 for other employees.

Estimates of the strength of the work stoppage varied widely, with the union claiming that about 80 percent of the 12,000 employees participated, and the State claiming only 50 percent participated. According to a State official, 65 percent of the employees in the bargaining unit are members of the union, which is an affiliate of the Service Employees. Most of the employees covered by the accord are in the Department of Public Welfare and the Department of Labor and Industry.

Also in Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia and the State, County and Municipal Employees settled for 17,000 workers. Gains for the workers under the 4-year contract included a $1,000 immediate lump-sum payment, followed by wage increases totaling 19 percent during the final 3 years, adoption of a legal services plan, and improvements in life insurance and shift differentials.

Gains for the city included cost-reducing changes in work rules, a cap on health and welfare benefits, and a provision for studying the possibility of adopting two-tier pension benefits.

In another pension matter, arbitrator Myron L. Joseph ordered the city to equalize benefit rates for all employees represented by Fire Fighters Local 22. The order stemmed from his conclusion that the city had violated its contract with the union when it imposed lower pension rates for firefighters hired after January 1, 1987.
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Title Annotation:Developments in Industrial Relations
Author:Ruben, George
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Nov 1, 1988
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