BCWA, union sign new deal

The Bristol County Water Authority board of directors and Local 359 of the Utility Workers of America have agreed upon a new three-year contract.
The contract was reached with the assistance of a federal mediator and is already effective. The BCWA was represented by Joe Whelan, a Bristol resident who specializes in labor negotiations.
Board chairman Allan Klepper, a Barrington resident, said that while the new contract holds wages to no change for the first two years, the union will see a wage increase of 2.25 percent in the third year of the contract.
BCWA employees as well as its retirees will contribute toward health insurance. The authority was also able to gain some additional flexibility and control to manage the utility going forward.  Furthermore, the new contract also reportedly allows for the BCWA to take advantage of new trends in retirement plans and planning for retirement benefits. It allows the BCWA to switch from a defined benefit to a defined contribution plan for future employees, where the employees can make matching contributions.
This plan reportedly reduces the liability of the authority for future contributions.

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