October 24, 2014

County commissioners approve two union contracts

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ARENAC COUNTY — The Arenac County Board of Commissioners and county employees have agreed on two union contracts, with the board approving both contracts at its Dec. 4 meeting.

The first contract the board approved by unanimous decision was the Arenac County Employee Association (ACEA), which was formerly the Steelworkers union.

“That was formerly the Steelworkers union, but they broke away and formed their own independent union,” Board Chairman Mike Snyder said.

According to County Negotiation Consultant Bill Borushko, contract negotiations with the former Steelworkers union first started back in 2010.

He said the main sticking point in negotiations was coming to an agreement on paid time off.

“The county made proposals to eliminate some of the amount of paid time off as far as sick days, vacation days, personal days,” Borushko said. “But they proposed to make concessions in health care coverage to offer more coverage there.”

Borushko said the contract that was approved was the final offer the county offered following an impasse in March 2011.

“In effect, by changing insurance plans, the county essentially will pay the union’s employees health care premiums,” Borushko said.

The commissioners also approved a contract with the county’s emergency service workers by unanimous decision.

In the new contract, Snyder said all employees will receive a one percent pay raise and an increase in medical coverage, with the county agreeing to fully pay for employees medical coverage.

“It was a really clean negotiation,” Snyder said.

The board also set a hearing for the 2013 budget proposal for Dec. 20 at 10 a.m. at the commissioner’s chamber at the Arenac County Building.

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