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AFSCME meeting with Lackawanna County for new contract

07.30.13

JULY 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

AFSCME meeting with Lackawanna County for new contract

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 2nd- The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union District Council 87 continues to negotiate with Lackwanna County for a new successor Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for Correction Officers (CO’s) of the county prison in Scranton.

The bargaining unit previously voted in early 2013 not to accept the Lackawanna County’s one year contract proposal of a 2 percent pay increase with no contract language changes for 2013.

AFSCME’s other bargaining unit, which includes employees of the Children and Youth Department of Lackawanna County and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Pennsylvania Social Services Union (PSSU) Local 668, Dickson City, which represents mostly clerical, maintenance, and 911 center workers, voted to extend the previous pacts with Lackawanna County. The previous contract agreements expired on December 31st, 2012.

The two AFSCME bargaining units were previously in one local union, however, in 2012 were split into two separate units one for the CO’s and one for the employees of children and youth.

Majority Democratic Lackawanna County Commissioners Jim Wansacz and Corey O’Brien requested the labor organizations that represent county workers accept a one year entension of the CBA’s with a 2 percent wage increase rather than a long pact because of the unknown ramifications of the new federal health care law. The commissioners did not want to lock the county into something that might unexpectedly cost less under the new law. Therefore, the commissioners office did not want to negotiate any long-term contracts until the new health care insurance law is in effect.

The 2 percent increase for the bargaining units that approved the extension began receiving retroactive pay from January 1st, 2013, despite the county first requesting they would not agree to employees receiving the calculated hourly increase from the first day of the year.

Meanwhile, following the CO’s unit voting not to accept the one-year extension of the CBA, officials of Lackawanna County and the union contract negotiating committee, which includes Eric Schubert, AFSCME Representative, have been conducting successor contract negotiating meetings at the District Council 87 building in Dunmore. At least five meetings have been held since the unit declined the extension proposal.