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UAW workers confront City Council over contract disputes

Published 9:33pm Monday, January 7, 2013

The Austin City Council faced a new controversy with the new year.

More than 25 members of the United Auto Workers bargaining units in the city’s streets, sewer and park & recreation department aired their frustration at the first council meeting of 2013 Monday night over the lack of a new contract in more than two years.

Greg Bell, a UAW park & rec worker and negotiation team member, castigated the council for the city allegedly spending thousands of dollars on a contract bargaining team which refuses to budge on what UAW workers and city staff say are minor issues.

“The problem seems to be the very word ‘negotiation,’” Bell said. “There are none.”

At issue is language the city wants to remove, bi-weekly pay, the UAW’s life insurance bumped to $40,000, a 1.5 percent raise, language fixed on emergency call-in, and a 32-cent adjustment in operator pay for equipment, which Bell said would be comparable to other department adjustments.

Look to the Tuesday print edition of the Herald for more on the UAW workers, the council’s response, and other council business.

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