5/31/08

AFSCME reminds County Commission of CBA

No salary freeze for union workers

Butler County (OH) Commission this week issued a directive that will exempt bargaining unit employees from the ongoing salary freeze. Commissioners unanimously decided May 12 to freeze all levels of pay pending an internal study by Personnel Director Douglas Duckett to compare salaries to other county governments.

Commissioners met with Duckett on Thursday, May 29, and asked him to relay to the county's three largest unions — which represent about 600 workers — that if workers qualify for a raise during the hiatus, they should get it.

"Our bargaining agreements need to be lived up to," Commissioner Donald Dixon said. "We will honor our contracts."

"We were incredibly happy to hear that they would honor the contracts," said Rebecca Palmer, president of the new Butler County Children Services Independent Union, which has just begun to negotiate a new contract.

Palmer said her union has at least 10 employees eligible for raises in May and June.

Officials from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 3396 — which represents workers in Job and Family Services and the Environmental Services Department — have said they were watching the May 12 decision to see if it violated agreements.

Dixon has cited situations where employees get automatic 7 percent annual increases, plus more raises with any promotion. Despite the salary hold, Dixon said increases will be given retroactively if employees are entitled.

Nonunion employees are still subject to the freeze until the study is complete, which Duckett said will likely be by month's end.

Duckett said he and his staff are studying salary levels of 15 county governments in Ohio, most of which have a similar population to Butler County.

(middletownjournal.com)

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