Chaplains Win a Step-Pay Plan in New Deal

By GREGORY N. HEIRES

Local 299 successfully negotiated with the city to use the additional compensation fund – established under the 2010-17 contract – to improve the step-pay plan of nearly 100 Chaplains.

In parallel discussions, the union won a one-time 8 percent raise above the annual contractual hikes for supervising Chaplains, who will soon have a new civil service title. Until now, Chaplains who took on supervisory duties were promoted to an in-house title that reflected their additional responsibilities but without providing extra pay.

“The lack of recognition of our Administrative Chaplains has been a long-standing sore point that the union and management were never able to fix,” Local 299 President Jackie Rowe-Adams said. “The positive tone of negotiations over the additional compensation created a climate that allowed us to finally resolve this issue.”

Besides providing DC 37 members with a salary hike of more than 10 percent, the 2010-17 contract created a fund worth .52 percent of payroll for bargaining units to allocate as they please. Typically, units dedicate the money to salary increments, longevities or annuity funds.

In the Chaplains’ case, the bargaining committee decided to increase the local’s six recurring increment payments (RIPS) by $122. The RIP pay schedule – with payments spread out over years – is in effect a step-pay plan, which allows members to count on guaranteed pay increases on top of their annual contractual increases.

Rowe-Adams, the Local 299 vice president, the Rev. Mike Ross, Iman Abid Hassan and Senior Analyst David Moog of the DC 37 Research and Negotiations Dept. carried out the discussions with the city.

“I have been working as an Administrative Chaplain for about 20 years,” Ross said. “It was just a title. No one would get more money.”

He described the local’s leadership change and a more receptive management as the key factors that lead to serious talks about the title change and additional compensation for the 10 Administrative Chaplains represented by Local 299.

Administrative Chaplains are responsible for coordinating staff meetings. They are on call at nighttime to respond to emergencies at Riker’s, including stabbings and even killings. Ross is the Dept. of Correction’s hostage negotiator.

Local 299 members include Activity Therapists, Art Program Specialists and Analysts, Fitness Instructors, Recreation Specialists, Playground Associates and Recreation Directors.

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