Cumberland Times-News

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June 24, 2013

County reaches agreement with transit workers

CUMBERLAND — Allegany County commissioners have agreed to a three-year contract with transit workers that provides set increases for the next three years.

Transit workers and the county could not reach an agreement during negotiations in 2012 and since then the employees have been working without a contract.

There was no impasse in 2012,  Brian Westfall, director of human resources for the county, said, but negotiations were unfruitful. This time, things were different.

“During the negotiations, the focus of both parties was on substantive issues and we were able to find common ground,” Westfall said of this year’s negotiations.

The transit workers include bus drivers, van drivers, mechanics and transit dispatchers, said Westfall.

There are 25 employees in the bargaining unit, Westfall said.

“The financial impact for the county is the same as the other contracts, but employees opted to specify flat rate increases of 35 cents, 36 cents and 37 cents per hour as opposed to percentage based increases,” Westfall said.

In other words, the first year’s raise will be for 35 cents and the third year’s for 37 cents.

Several recent contracts have been negotiated with the county, including 911 dispatchers and county roads employees.

Those contracts guaranteed a 3 percent raise each year for three years.

County employees have not seen a raise for four years, but a 3 percent, across-the-board raise was written into the fiscal 2014 budget.

The new fiscal year begins July 1, said Jason Bennett, the county’s finance director.

The cost of next year’s 3 percent cost of living adjustment planned for all county employees would total $442,237, officials have said.

Transit workers are represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

AFSCME represents em-ployees in several county departments.

Commissioners approved the contract during their business meeting Thursday in Flintstone.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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