Press-Republican

Local News

October 2, 2013

Union talks fail in Franklin County

MALONE — For the second year in a row, Franklin County is having trouble closing negotiations for a new contract for one of its employee unions.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department Association has not ratified the mediated-settlement contract presented to it last week.

The union represents almost all of the County Jail and Sheriff’s Department employees, who have been working under the provisions of the previous contract since it expired in 2011.

That’s also the same year the county pulled a 3 percent raise that members were expecting.

Marty Wright, the union’s representative at the Sheriff’s Department, declined to comment, referring questions to United Public Service Employees Union Labor Relations Representative Phil Sedlock.

PAY HIKES OFFERED

County Manager Thomas Leitz said the county offered the employees 2-percent raises retroactive to Aug. 21, another 2 percent in 2014 and 2.5 percent in 2015.

“This is more than generous in today’s environment,” he said in news release.

He said he didn’t want to present the proposed settlement offer to legislators to ratify because, he added, “several members would not support raises higher than the 2 percent tax cap.”

Leitz said an hourly incentive for hazard pay would also be part of the new contract.

CLOSE VOTE

Sedlock said the mediated settlement didn’t include the longevity pay and retroactive payments to January that the union membership wanted, but he took the offer to them anyway.

“We felt there was enough money there to show to them and let them vote,” he said. “We felt it was important that they weigh in, but they were not too happy.”

He said the vote was close, but it did not pass, so the next step is to go to fact-finding, where each side files their reasons for their stance, new terms are offered, and the deal goes to a vote.

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