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January 14, 2014

Plaistow town, police agree on new contract

Police employees would receive 2 percent raise

PLAISTOW — For the first time in nearly four years, the town and the union representing Plaistow police employees have agreed to a new labor contract.

The two sides ratified an agreement last week. It will now go on the warrant at Town Meeting in March. The department’s 21 employees have been without a contract since 2010.

“What’s important is that the town management has found a good middle ground with employees who deserve to be supported,” police Chief Stephen Savage said yesterday.

The agreement ends contentious negotiations between the two sides. During the stalemate, Jeff Padellaro, business agent for Teamsters Local 633, had accused Savage and Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald of hindering contract negotiations.

“They were difficult at times,” Padellaro said. “But everyone always had the best interest of the town and the voters in mind.”

The contract will last through 2017. Employees would receive a 2 percent raise in each year of the contract, their first raise since 2009.

“Anytime you can have labor peace, it’s beneficial to both parties,” Padellaro said. “The patrol unit worked long and hard in order to achieve a very fair contract.”

During the negotiations, the union filed two unfair labor practice charges with the New Hampshire Public Employee Labor Relations Board. The complaints said that union representatives in the department were unfairly targeted and that some employees did not get their entitled health benefits. Both charges are still in the process of being heard.

Savage also acknowledged the difficulty of the negotiations.

“It was painful for both sides,” Savage said. “It ends up being great for the taxpayers and the employees.”

Savage said the raise was a fair amount.

“Two percent is pretty standard,” he said. “We found a balance which is good for both parties.”

Fitzgerald said the contract would save at least $57,000 through the length of the contract.

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