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MECHANICSBURG, PA On Friday, January 27th, 2017, just 4 days before expiration of the labor agreement between Local 537 and Pennsylvania American Water Company, the parties sat down and worked out a mutually beneficial deal. The parties reached a tentative agreement that the Union negotiating committee expects to get ratified. Included in the 5 year package is language that bolsters safety, and rest periods after long hours; Paid time off for active military members; earlier benefits for new members; work brought back in-house; increase in several license premiums; modified progression schedule; and a fair wage increase over each of the five years.
"As negotiations go, this has been one of the best and most productive sessions I've ever been a part of", said J. Kevin Booth, President of the System Local. "We started negotiations at 8:00 AM, and didn't break for a caucus until 3:40 PM. We spent many hours together working out our differences". This is much different than how traditional bargaining goes", Booth continued. Mike Kennedy, System Vice-President commented, "Instead of leaving the table and being enemies, we better understood where each other stood. It was far less positional than usual". Booth commented that he structured the negotiations around not getting a bigger slice of the pie, but getting a bigger pie. Local 537 has scheduled a ratification for Wednesday, February 1st, at 4:00 PM. The negotiation committee will unanimously recommend this package to its members then.
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