PUEBLO — UPDATE: Pueblo City Council passed the collective bargaining agreements on Monday night. The contracts will now last for three years, instead of one. The self-funded health insurance program passed along with the collective bargaining agreements, and the President of Pueblo City Council, Dennis Flores, said in the long term it will lower costs.
ORIGINAL: The current collective bargaining agreements between the City of Pueblo and its local firefighters, police officers, and government workers is set to expire at the end of the year.
On the agenda for city council's Monday night meeting, the council is looking to renew all of those agreements- but for a longer time period than usual. Currently, all three agreements are one year contracts, city council is looking to make all of those agreements three years.
One of the biggest topics of conversation of these agreements is a plan to move the city to a self-funded health insurance program.
The city would get a third party consultant to oversee the insurance program, but Pueblo would be paying out the health claims for employees. Mayor Nick Gradisar says this is a way to better control the costs than working with a company.
By comparison, voters in Colorado Springs and Mayor John Suthers were not in favor of a collective bargaining agreement with firefighters. As you may recall, the concept was a ballot issue last April. More than 68% of voters went against the ballot issue. The primary argument against collective bargaining for fire department employees was a concern other city employees would seek similar agreements, thereby costing taxpayers more money for wages and benefits.