Employee Unions Will Not Get Raises For 2021

CHAMBERSBURG – In a series of negotiations that took place over the past several weeks, two of the Borough’s employee unions accepted no cost of living increases for the 2021 fiscal year as a result of the COVID-19 health emergency and the unknown potential impact on Borough of Chambersburg finances.

On July 13, the uniform police officers represented by the Chambersburg Police Officers Association approved an extension on their current collective bargaining agreement, which would have expired at the end of 2020.

That extension, approved by vote of the police officers and ratified by Chambersburg Town Council, extended the current labor pact for two more years, 2021 and 2022, with a 0% cost of living increase scheduled for 2021 and a 3% cost of living increase scheduled for 2022.

“We were extremely pleased with this agreement,” explained Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill. The police officers were quite easy to work with and in these challenging times, with the state of the economy unknown, it is reassuring to agree that pay rates should not increase in 2021.”

Police Officer and Chambersburg Police Officers Association President TJ Smith stated: “The CPOA understands the hardship that has been not only placed on the Borough during this difficult time, but the community. We as an association only wish to do all we can to support the Borough with maintaining financial security and continuing to provide the excellent services the community deserves.”

On September 29, the non-uniform employees, mostly utility workers and utility support workers, represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local #246, approved an extension on their current collective bargaining agreement, which would have expired at the end of 2020.

The extension, approved by a vote of the rank and file and ratified by Chambersburg Town Council, extended the current union contract for two more years, 2021 and 2022. It provides a 0% cost of living increase scheduled for 2021 and a 3% cost of living increase scheduled for 2022. In addition, current employees, who have worked to keep the lights on, the water flowing, and the Borough operating during the pandemic this year, will receive a one- time “essential employee recognition incentive” paid either in January 2022 or upon retirement, if they retire before that date.

“We recognize the sacrifice our employees have undertaken in support of the community,” added Council President Alice Elia. “Our employees continued to come to work every day so that we could seamlessly maintain continuity of services for the Borough and our utility customers. Our women and men are the epitome of essential workers, and we are pleased to provide them with this onetime bonus in compensation in 2022, to thank them for their service.” Chambersburg is the only town in Pennsylvania to provide all utilities: water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, natural gas, electricity, electric generation, and solid waste & recycling.

Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill explained that generally when the union and Council strike a deal, we extend the details of that labor agreement to the non-union employees of the Borough. Those employees would include the clerical, technical, and supervisory employees such as department heads, assistants, and field supervisors. “Therefore, I anticipate,” said Mr. Stonehill, “that these non-union employees will also receive a 0% cost of living increase in 2021. That will be fixed by Council during 2021 budget approval later this year.”

The Borough of Chambersburg has four employee groups: the police officers; career firefighters represented by the International Association of Fire Fighters Local #1813; the non-uniform employees; and non-union clerical, technical, and supervisory employees. Wages and benefits are now settled for all four groups for the 2021 budget year.