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County Labor Negotiations Begin

By Staff | Dec 10, 2015

Palo Alto County Supervisors and representatives of the county’s Secondary Road Department sat down at the bargaining table to exchange their initial proposals in open session before adjourning into closed session as prescribed by the Code of Iowa.

The Secondary Road employees, who are represented by the Public Professional and Maintenance Employees Local 2003, submitted a proposal addressing Funeral Leave for employees of up to five days per occurrence with pay for a spouse, parent, child, mother or father-in-law, son or daughter-in law, as well as three days with pay for the funeral of a brother or sister and up to one day with pay for the funeral of a grandparent, grandchild, brother or sister-in-law, aunt or uncle and one day with pay to serve as a pallbearer or military honor guard member, or to attend the funeral of a fellow employee.

Also proposed was a change to the sick leave policy allowing for use of up to 10 days per year for illness or injury of a member of the employee’s immediate family, including the spouse and children of the employee.

A proposal was also submitted in regards to vacation leave, proposing one week of vacation after one year of employment; two weeks after two years of employment; three weeks after six years of employment and four weeks of vacation after 15 years of employment.

The proposal also calls for the term of the employment agreement to run through 2019, and asks for salary increases of six percent on July 1, 2016, six percent on July 1 of 2017 and six percent on July 1, 2018.

Serving as the union representatives for the Palo Alto County Secondary Road workers are Mike Hartman and Mike Flaherty, along with Mark Hubbard of Fort Dodge, Union Representative of the PPME, IUPAT District 81.

In the county’s response, no change to the current contract was proposed as far as leave, other than a proposal to reduce sick leave accrual from 1.5 days per month to one day per month and a proposal to change the carryover from twice the annual entitlement to 80 hours.

The county also proposed to pay overtime at the rate of time and one-half the employees’ straight time hourly rate in excess of eight hours in any one workday, or in excess of 40 hours in any workweek. Work performed on Sunday would be paid at the rate of time and one-half the straight time rate. Also, no pyramiding of pay would be allowed. All time paid for holidays would count as time worked for the purpose of computing overtime.

Additionally, Engineering Aides will be granted compensatory time in lieu of overtime pay. All other employees in the bargaining unit may earn up to, but not exceed 40 hours of compensatory time. Compensatory time would be earned at the same rate as overtime, and compensatory time would be taken at a time mutually agreed upon by the employee and the County Engineer.

The county also proposed that the employer would continue to pay 100 percent of single and family health coverage premiums, provided the cost of health insurance coverage for employees do not increase effective July 1, 2016. If the cost of providing health insurance coverage does increase effective July 1, 2016, those additional costs will be paid by the employee.

The county proposes the employment agreement run through June 30, 2017, and proposed a salary increase of 1.5 percent for the employees of the bargaining unit.

Renee VonBokern of VonBokern Associates of Des Moines and the Board of Supervisors represent the county in negotiations.