County begins contract negotiations with union

Chickasaw County officials opened contract negotiations with employees on Thursday with three quick meetings in rapid succession.

The employees’ union presented its initial bargaining position, and the county presented its initial bargaining position and then the two groups went into closed session, as the negotiations are exempt from the open meetings provision of state law.

The county was represented by Human Resources consultant Paul Greufe of P.J. Greufe and Associates. There will be two contracts to negotiate this year, the courthouse employees and the secondary roads employees. There will be no board of public health contract to negotiate this year, as those employees voted not to maintain their union affiliations. Certification votes by public-sector workers grant unions the permission to collectively negotiate contracts and pay on workers' behalf. In the past, unions faced elections only if one of their members petitioned for decertification. The state’s new collective bargaining laws require that public-sector unions must re-certify every time they face a new contract negotiation.

The employees are represented by Dan Macdonald, who has been a Business Agent for Teamsters Local 238 since 2014. He will representing the county employees, while a different union will be handling the roads department’s negotiations.

At this early stage, the two parties couldn’t be farther apart. On Thursday, the union proposed a 5 percent pay increase to be added to all workers’ individual current wage scale for each year of the agreement, starting July 1, 2018. The union proposed a five-year agreement, lasting through June 30, 2023. 

 

For more of this article, see Tuesday's Tribune.

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