WALKER -- James A. Lundberg, a Minnesota state arbitrator, settled a Cass County contract with the Teamsters Union bargaining unit for assistant Cass County attorneys.
This union bargaining unit was certified in 2002, but was unable to reach an agreement through 2003 or 2004 and until now has never had a working contract.
County Administrator Robert Yochum, County Attorney Earl Maus and the county board personnel committee originally of Commissioners Rusty Lilyquist and Jim Demgen, then later Demgen and Commissioner Dick Downham, negotiated until they reached an impasse, Yochum said.
The process went through mediation before going to arbitration. The county hired an outside attorney, Tom Fitzpatrick of Brainerd, to represent the county in arbitration. County cost for the arbitrator ran $2,340 and the outside attorney $11,310, Yochum said.
The arbitrator set the assistant attorney salary grade ratings the same as the county had rated them before union organization and granted a 3 percent increase per year, plus annual experience step increases, the same as the county's other union contracts, for 2003 and 2004.
Lundberg chose the union's proposed language for a no-strike provision and temporary and part-time positions to be more consistent with state law.
He chose the county's proposal for a 40-hour work week consisting of five eight-hour days Monday through Friday with an unpaid half-hour lunch break and the county's position to make disability leave consistent with other Cass union contracts.
He chose the county's existing formula for determining sick leave and accumulated severance pay.
Cass County began negotiations this fall with all bargaining units to renew three-year contracts to run from January 2005 through December 2007.
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