November 24, 2014

Implemented Steelworker contract stands… for now

By Tim Barnum
Staff writer
Posted

ARENAC COUNTY — A negotiation on Tuesday, Nov. 18 between Arenac County and its local Steelworkers’ Union did little to change an implemented labor contract that has been highly criticized by members of the local unit.

“We (unit, county) had a very frank discussion over what’s remaining,” said Arenac County Labor Relations Manager Bill Borushko. “Our (county) position remains what we implemented.

“We’re pretty locked up on all language items. … I would encourage them (Union) to look elsewhere if they want to make any changes,” Borushko added.

During the negotiating session, Arenac County Commissioners Joseph Sancimino and Ronald Branda accompanied Borushko, while the labor group attended and was accompanied by its Union representative, Mike Flora.

A week earlier, on Wednesday, Nov. 12, the Steelworkers’ Union members came before the Board during a meeting to voice concerns over the disparity in their wage increases when compared to other unions operating in the County Courthouse and the changes in sick day pay out implemented in the 2008-2010 contract.

In other news pertaining to local unions, the Government Employees Labor Council (GELC), which represents the dispatchers in Arenac County E-911, still has not ratified a contract with the county, nor has the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM), which represents county deputies.

“We had an agreement in July (with GELC),” Borushko said. “Normally, it’ll take you a good six months (to negotiate a contract after the expiration of an existing one). … Now we’re at the point where we’re at least two to three months past where we should be.

“I cannot begin to think about what the problem is because I don’t know.”

However, Borushko says the issues not only with the GELC, but Steelworkers’ Union may stem from incidents that occurred earlier this year.

He says the GELC is new in Arenac County, as E-911 employees had formerly been represented by the POAM. Borushko says sometimes when employees switch unions the transition phase causes some setbacks. In the case of the Steelworkers, Borushko says the membership had some issues with its former representative and is also looking at a transition phase with its new representative.

The POAM had already made it public that it was waiting to approve a new contract.

“They (POAM) don’t want to ratify anything until the new sheriff comes in,” Borushko said.

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