City and DPW Union Reach Agreement on Contract 

Blue Collar Workers Agreement Expired in 2018


Mayor McKenzie giving Daniel Burrett his certificate for 33 years of service.

By Regina Clarkin

Four days after Mayor Vivian McKenzie and the City Manager showed up at the DPW garage on Lower South Street with donuts, certificates and City of Peekskill mugs in recognition of employees who had 20 or more years of service with the city, an agreement between the city and Teamsters Local 456 was reached. The employees had been working under the terms of an expired contract since 2018. 

The first new labor contract since December 31, 2017 sees the 50 blue collar DPW employees receiving one percent increases for every year from 2018 to 2021. Effective this January, the rate increased 7.5 percent with a 2 percent increase every year beginning in January until December 2026.  Negotiations between the union and city reached an impasse last fall.  Both parties agreed to utilize an independent mediator at their next meetings, which took place in March.  

“We got a fair share on numbers,” said union rep Tyrone Welch. That sentiment was echoed by John Curso, another union representative, who said a number of factors played into the acceptance of a new contract, including a new city manager, corporation counsel and mayor – along with a neutral mediator. “It’s been a rough ride since 2018 with the economy and the pandemic,” said Curso. “This contract is a good thing.” At its last meeting, on April 11,  the Common Council authorized the City Manager to sign the deal. 

DPW crew at the broken water main on Railroad Avenue July 1, 21. (Photo by Jim Striebich)

One of the sticking points through the four years they were working under an expired contract was the issue of health insurance, and how much workers would have to contribute to their plans. Under the terms of the old contract, employees who were retired didn’t contribute towards their health insurance premiums. In the new agreement, all new hires will contribute while employed, and in retirement in the following way: Individual plan 15 percent, family plan 20 percent. 

Beginning this month, employees will pay 10 percent towards their health plan, up from 5 percent under the terms of the old contract. Beginning in January 2023, employees will pay 11 percent of premiums. In 2024 they will contribute 13 percent of the premium and in 2025 and 2026 they will contribute 14 percent of the premium. 

Last Fall the union took to posting signs around the city, telling residents they had been working under an expired contract.