Windham Town Hall Employees: New Contract, 100% Membership

The value of union membership has become increasingly apparent in these precarious times as working people fight the blunt impact of an economy rigged by corporate and wealthy special interests.

The obvious connection between worker empowerment and strong unions can be seen in Northeast Connecticut, where members of Local 1303-116 of Council 4, representing Windham Town Hall Employees, ratified a new collective bargaining agreement and also completed signing their AFSCME membership recommitment cards. 

On Sept. 13, Local 1303-116 members overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract. The agreement includes raises totaling 6.50% over three years and is in line with what other bargaining units sought and received in negotiations.

The new contract also holds the line on premium cost share increases for health care, improved language related to snow day coverage, one additional paid holiday and an increase to the payout of accrued sick leave upon retirement.

 “We stuck together and ended up with a strong agreement that works for our members and the town,” said bargaining unit President Barbara McKinney, the deputy town clerk. “We saw that department heads were getting increases so we demanded equity. And we got it.”

Council 4 Staff Representative Lisa McKinnon advocated for the Local in negotiations and also helped in many other ways, McKinney noted.

In addition to ratifying a solid collective bargaining agreement, Local 1303-116 celebrated the fact they achieved 100% union membership. All 50 members have signed new union cards reaffirming their commitment to their union.

“We knew the Janus case was coming,” said McKinney, referring to the recent Supreme Court decision (Janus v. AFSCME) that allows members to opt out of paying dues but requires the union to represent them.

 “We made sure to contact every member. People around here realize the union is important. We wouldn’t want to be without it. The union gives us bargaining power we otherwise wouldn’t have.”

Windham Local 1303-116 Officers, l-r: Barbara McKinney, Chapter President; Kathy Worcester, Vice President; Carlos Cruz, Secretary; and Kimberly Sullivan, Treasurer.