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A tentative labor agreement with raises has been reached with another state employee union, the law enforcement officers of the Public Safety Employees Association.
The three-year deal is similar to those agreed to by two other unions this year, the Masters, Mates and Pilots and the Public Employees Local 71.
The state continues to negotiate with nine other unions. An agreement is near with PSEA's correctional officers, who are in separate talks from the law enforcement officers, according to the state Department of Administration.
The tentative deal, which still must be approved by the full membership and funded by the Legislature, covers about 410 state troopers, fire marshals, court service officers and airport safety officers.
It provides a $1,200 per employee lump sum payment this July. Rather than going to individual employees, however, the union has asked that the money go partly to a union health trust and partly to increase the geographic pay differentials in Kodiak and Klawock.
Those are areas of the state where it has become difficult to recruit officers, said Bob King, a spokesman for Gov. Tony Knowles.
The deal provides for a 2 percent raise in the pay scale effective July 2001, and a 3 percent pay scale increase in July 2002. Those terms are the same as those the other two unions have agreed to.
``By this agreement Governor Knowles and his administration have demonstrated their belief that our members deserve to be treated fairly and with dignity,'' PSEA Business Manager Keith Perrin said in a news release. ``This agreement also signifies the understanding our members have during these tough economic times.''
In addition to the pay increase, the state also has agreed to increase its contribution to each employee's health insurance each year, reaching a state contribution of $630 by the third year.
The cost of the deal with PSEA is estimated to be an additional $622,000 the first year. The total cost over three years will be about $3.8 million.