WALKER -- Cass County has reached agreement with three of five union bargaining units for three-year wage contracts, running through 2004. The board voted Tuesday to accept those three agreements.
Contracts call for a 3 percent annual wage increase each of the next three years, plus a mid-year step increase for employees who have worked 10 or fewer years for the county. Step increases generally represent about 3 to 3.5 percent.
International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 49, representing highway department employees, has agreed to contract terms. Their membership has voted to ratify the contract.
Representation in that union has been expanded to include all non-supervisory clerical and survey technician personnel, as well as equipment operators and repair personnel employed in the highway department.
Also agreeing to contract terms are two Teamsters bargaining units. One represents sheriff's department deputies and jail personnel. The other represents dispatch and clerical personnel in that department. Those members have yet to vote on whether to accept the contracts.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, representing courthouse personnel and, in another bargaining unit, health and human services personnel, has filed for mediation.
County Administrator Robert Yochum reported to the board further negotiating sessions are scheduled with both units.
The board authorized hiring legal counsel, should those negotiations eventually go before a mediator and to prepare written contracts for bargaining units that have reached agreement.
Yochum also reported appointed non-union personnel have expressed willingness to look at proposals unique to their group.
Contracts approved to date call for implementing a cafeteria insurance program not later than August 2002. The county will pay per month $453 group hospitalization for the employee, $9.40 for life insurance and $5.60 for short-term disability insurance.
All three contracts call for 1 percent longevity pay in 2002, 1.25 percent in 2003 and 1.5 percent in 2004.
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