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Union agreement calls for East Lyme employees working less to use paid time off to get 40 hr/week paycheck

New London

EAST LYME, Conn. (WTNH)– East Lyme town hall is closed to the public but there are still people working inside. 

Some at reduced hours and now the union, which represents employees at town hall, in the parks and recreation department, water and sewer, and public works, reached an agreement with the town to require those working less than forty hours a week to make a choice. 

Use paid time off like sick time and vacation time to make up the hours and get a forty hour paycheck, or choose not to get paid for the time they are not working.

“We tried to strike a balance between those people who might be at home, maybe a hundred percent of the time, some fifty percent of a time, and then others who might have to work a hundred percent of the time,” said First selectman Mark Nickerson, (R) East Lyme.

He says the United Public Service Employees Union is a wall to wall unit which covers essential and non-essential workers.

“The only economic consideration during this whole process was the economics of individual people, not the economics of the town necessarily,” said Nickerson.

News 8 left a message with union president Ron Bence and did hear back from him. Other town hall workers did not want to speak on camera.

“The skin in their game is they’re expending some of that earned PTO time and many of them typical of municipal contracts have a lot of accumulated PTO time,” said Nickerson.

If employees run out of paid time off they can borrow some from the following year and those with extra PTO can donate it to others.

“They can give back to maybe some of the rookies,” said Nickerson.

The first selectman says there are more tough decisions to be made like for instance will the town beaches open for the season.

Nickerson says the town isn’t losing money now and isn’t saving money with this agreement but cuts will be made for the new fiscal year which begins July first so the town can keep costs down.

“Any new programs have been slashed,” said Nickerson.

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