The Anacortes City Council voted 3-2 to approve a collective bargaining agreement between the city and the Teamsters Union Local 231 at Monday’s meeting.

Teamster union members comprise 100 of the city’s 245 regular full- and part-time employees. The new agreement has a pay increase of 3% to reflect the increased cost of living. Since the contract year began in 2020, union members will receive a lump sum to cover retroactive payment to reflect the salary increase.

Council member Matt Miller voted against the approval and questioned the timing of the contract. It has been in negotiation since late last year, and was brought for approval this week.

“We’re in a state of emergency, in a hiring freeze — to me that equates to a pay raise freeze as well,” Miller said.

Vanessa Bronsema, director of human resources and labor relations for the city, said the negotiations between the city and the union involved compromises on both sides and that the union members were overdue for salary adjustments. The increase is based on a collaborative study, she said.

“The timing is challenging, obviously with the pandemic. One of my feelings is we still need to make this move to get our critical workforce caught up in salary,” Bronsema said. “Hopefully we’ll see federal government coming up with state and local relief and funding.”

Council member Jeremy Carter also voted against the approval, and asked if the raise could be delayed until things settled down. Bronsema said the raise was part of a package deal, and modifications would require more negotiations.

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