Labor union negotiations begin

260-member CSEA largest in county

JOHNSTOWN — Talks have begun between Fulton County government and its 260-member General Unit union, whose current multi-year deal expires in a few days.

“We met with them once,” Johnstown 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery said Thursday.

Callery, chairman of the Board of Supervisors’ Personnel Committee, said the county and the Local 818, Civil Service Employees Association unit will meet again for the second time in either the first or second week of February.

“They wanted to meet early,” Callery said. “We agreed to that.”

General Unit, Local 818, CSEA represents the largest of Fulton County government’s four public-sector unions. Members of the general unit include county clerical and office workers, and those working with the Department of Solid Waste, Department of Social Services and the Department of Highways and Facilities. The union’s current, three-year contract expires Sunday.

Local 818 President Barbara Handy on Thursday acknowledged the first session.

“We just got together to exchange proposals,” she said.

Handy said there may be new county committee members the union must meet with after the start of the year, so the meeting was set up for February.

“We’re anxious to sit down and meet [again],” she said.

The General Unit union’s last collective bargaining agreement with Fulton County was approved by the Board of Supervisors on June 8, 2015. Following overwhelming approval by the union on May 28, 2015, the three-year contract ran from Jan. 1, 2015 to the end of this year.

The result was a memorandum of agreement with wage increases instead of strict percentages: 60 cents per hour, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015; 55 cents per hour effective Jan. 1, 2016; and 50 cents per hour, effective Jan. 1, 2017. At the time, county Administrative Officer Jon Stead said those wage increases were “close” to 2.75 percent to 3 percent raises during the duration of the deal.

The contract prior to the current one gave no raises to General Unit members for 2010, 2013 and 2014.

Other unions representing Fulton County government employees include the Nurses Unit. That union’s last three-year contract was approved on Dec. 14, 2015 and like the General Unit, also expires at the end of this year. The current nurses deal provided 3 percent raises in 2015 and and 2016, and 2.75 percent for 2017.

Fulton County also has two unions representing the Sheriff’s Department – the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office Employees Alliance and the Fulton County Deputy Sheriff’s Police Benevolent Association.

County supervisors on Nov. 13 ratified a new, retroactive four-year contract until 2019 with the alliance carrying 2 to 2.5 percent raises. That union represents members of the corrections staff at the county jail, and civilian Sheriff’s Department personnel such as 911 employees and the sheriff’s Civil Office staff.

The status of talks with the PBA was not known this week.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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