Local 856 members working for the town of Hillsborough have secured a four-year contract, which includes a 12 percent raise over the term of the agreement, no increase to their health care, a new wellness benefit, and the restoration of vacation buy back.
The union represents permit and accounting technicians, planning department staff, building inspectors, as well as the town’s public works staff, which includes water, sewer, and street department employees.
Negotiations began in mid-May, and according to Alan Singh, a shop steward and accounting technician, they ran pretty smooth. Alan says that a big priority for the bargaining team was making sure they were economically stable in the coming years.
“We’ve been on a pretty big economic roll, but it will turn,” he said. “That’s why we went for the longer-term contract — to give us stability.”
“We got what we wanted — mainly raises and a wellness package,” said Matt Higgins, a shop steward and water quality technician.
Both Alan and Matt attribute the strong contract and a smooth negotiations process to being members of a strong union.
“When you go in by yourself, you’re at the mercy of your employer,” said Alan. “I’ve worked in other places where whether you get a raise or any workplace improvement is more subjective. But with a union, you know that if you have a contract where there are things spelled out, and you know how things will play out.”
“The union is important because we have strength in numbers,” said Matt. “We have the backing to fight for what we deserve.”
“The members on our bargaining team (Rom Flamenco, Matt Higgins, and Alan Singh), were professional, prepared and made it happen,” said Local 856 Secretary-Treasurer/Principal Officer Peter Finn, who chaired negotiations. “The result is a strong long-term contract.”