Local 433 Secures Wage Increases and Fairer Benefits at Alcosan

For over 60 years, UWUA has represented employees at the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (Alcosan), which provides wastewater treatment services to 900,000 residents across 83 municipalities, including Pittsburgh.


In May, Local 433 concluded a year-long process for a contract renewal covering its 283 members employed at Alcosan. The contract encompasses over 100 job classifications across seven departments, including customer service and billing, operations, regional conveyance, laboratory, industrial waste, IT, and maintenance.

Approximately one-third of Alcosan’s union members are clerical workers, who have traditionally worked a 37.5-hour work week compared to the 40 hours worked by those in operations and maintenance. One of the union’s priorities is to increase the clerical work week to 40 hours to equalize their pensions. However, the authority’s long-serving executive director has hindered progress on this and other issues.

Local 433 President Ryan Shea reported some progress this round, with an extension of the clerical workday by half an hour, and stated, “We’re playing a long game on this issue, and the short contract term gives us an opportunity to revisit it again in 2025 and continue negotiating for full resolution.”

The union secured a guaranteed wage increase of 4.5% for all members for the first year, retroactive to October 1, 2023. Non-clerical members will receive a second-year increase of 5% on October 1, 2024, while the clerical unit members will begin their 40-hour work week, gaining 6.67% in pay.

The contract team also achieved improvements in how longevity is calculated and adjustments in the apprenticeship program. In addition, they successfully changed how Alcosan calculates employee healthcare contributions from a percentage of wages to a flat dollar amount, creating a system where lower-paid classifications contribute less. “We’re a union, we’re family. We negotiated a system that is fairer for everyone,” Shea commented.

Shea, who has worked at Alcosan for 15 years, led the negotiating committee which included Chief Steward Craig Romanovich, as well as six first time negotiators: Treasurer Dave Stubenbort; stewards Brian Gottesman and Ryan Coleman; and department representatives Julie Graham (operations), Michael Lippiello (lab/industrial waste) and Evan Novosel (maintenance). The committee attended over 30 sessions (plus 50 hours of Zoom meetings in between) before reaching an agreement and made transparency with members its top priority throughout the process.