BUFFALO •BUFFALO - City of Buffalo gay, lesbian bisexual and transsexual employees will now have access to the same health care benefits that had only been available to heterosexual city workers.
The most recently approved labor pact between the City of Buffalo and AFSCME Local 650 resulted in two signifigcant advances for glbt city employees. The pact, which was unanimously approved by the Control Board, includes domestic partner benefits for those who meet domestic partner qualifications of carrier. The new contract also added “Gender identity and expression” to non-discrimination protections for employees.
Gay, Lesbian and Transsexual employees and citizens have raised these issues for the past fifteen years. This marks the first time that a city employees union has taken the issue to the negotiation.
More than 470 of the AFSCME Local 650 white-collar workers in City Hall will see their paychecks increase by an average of 17.2 percent through mid-2011. About 120 political appointees will receive the same increases.
Workers will receive the first of four 3 percent raises retroactive to last July. This year, employees will receive a $2,000 boost in base pay, plus another 3 percent raise. A typical white-collar employee making $37,000 would see an increase of about $6,800 over four years.
The control board estimated the cost of the new contract to be $7.4 million over four years, higher than the $6.1 million projection made by city budget officials. Still, the oversight panel determined that the pact was affordable to the city.