Town workers vote to unionize

Town workers vote to unionize/12 employees choose AFSCME

BY RUTH EPSTEIN REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

SALISBURY — After informal and formal hearings, 12 employees at the Town Hall and Senior Center voted Monday to form a bargaining unit with AFSME Council 4.

David Testa, a field representative with the council, said Tuesday the secret vote to form a union was "overwhelming." He said the individuals involved told him they were satisfied with their jobs, with the terms of employment and the benefits received, but had concerns about job security and basic respect on the job. They also had some misgivings about a code of ethics that is being proposed by Selectman Mark Lauretano.

"They're basically happy," said Testa, "and First Selectman Curtis G. Rand has been more than cordial. He said he wants whatever the employees want." Rand said he had nothing to do with the move and had no comment.

Testa said a letter will be sent to Rand within a few weeks. The next step will be the election of officers and official designation of who will be doing the negotiating of contracts.

"We'll put together a wish list to see what they want in the contract," said Testa. They generally run for three years, but the terms are to be determined.

He said he doesn't foresee the dynamics inside the buildings changing and he hopes the positive relations will continue.

AFSME represents noncertified staff members in Region 1, as well as the Salisbury public works department.

Statewide it represents groups in 161 towns, or about 35,000 individuals.