Eau Claire County Board to vote on union deals
Labor agreements involving more than 300 public employees are on their way to the Eau Claire County Board. The Committee on Human Resources and three union bargaining units reached tentative agreements Friday for new one-year contracts. The propo...
Labor agreements involving more than 300 public employees are on their way to the Eau Claire County Board.
The Committee on Human Resources and three union bargaining units reached tentative agreements Friday for new one-year contracts. The proposed contracts have financial concessions mirroring those in Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair law, which strips most collective bargaining rights from most public employees.
The proposed contracts would preserve language previously agreed to by union groups and the County Board that govern grievance procedures, safety rules, overtime rules and other matters.
Supervisor Kathy Clark said it would be prudent to keep such language intact.
"This is a process that has been built overtime, and it could all be lost in one fell swoop," said Clark, committee chairwoman.
If the board approves the proposed contracts Tuesday they would be valid despite the fact Walker signed the budget repair bill Friday. That's because that new law doesn't take effect until it is published in a Madison newspaper, and Secretary of State Doug La Follette is expected to take the full 10 days he is allowed to publish the law.
The contracts would cover Locals 254 and 2223 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Local 254 has two units, which represent employees in the Highway and Parks and Forest departments, while Local 2223 represents employees in the courthouse clerical and professional units and human services clerical and professional units.
Friday's committee vote was unanimous, although committee member John Prince was absent. Clark said the agreements followed eight months of negotiations.
Under the contract, wages would be frozen. Employees' share of health insurance premiums would increase from 8 percent to 10 percent on July 1, and would increase again on Dec. 31 to 12 percent. Employee contributions toward their pensions would also increase. Currently they pay nothing but would pay 5.8 percent of their wages under the proposed contract.
Contracts involving the county's other bargaining groups are in negotiations, Clark said.
In November, Prince proposed that 75 Eau Claire County employees not represented by a union be required to pay the full cost of the employee contribution to the state retirement fund. At that time, Prince said he hoped to make the contributions mandatory for all county workers.
For 2010, payments equal to 11 percent of county employees' gross wages were made to the Wisconsin Retirement System. The county paid the full employee share -- generally 6.2 percent -- for most workers. Exceptions were made for non-represented employees hired on or after Aug. 1, 2009, who paid the entire employee share, and some members of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association.
In December, the Committee on Human Resources, minus Prince, voted 4-0 to reject the supervisor's original proposal.
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- The Eau Claire County Board meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Room 2560 of the Eau Claire County Courthouse, 721 Oxford Ave.
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