JOHNSTOWN - Bargaining aimed at finalizing new contracts for two Fulton County government unions failed in two sessions last month.
Both county management and the 285-member General Unit union of Local 818, Civil Service Employees Association, and the smaller Nurses Unit union met recently to resolve longstanding differences. The unions' last contracts expired at the end of 2009.
County officials met in Johnstown with the Nurses Unit on June 18 and the General Unit on June 27, but no agreements were hammered out.
The Nurses Unit consists of nurses employed by the county. The General Unit consists of unionized county employees such as clerks, support staff and workers from the Social Services, Highway and Facilities, and Solid Waste departments.
"We have nothing," Local 818 President Ronald Briggs said following the General Unit session. "Overall, the [union's negotiating] committee was very disappointed."
He said the county wants a multi-year agreement in which unionized employees largely won't be getting raises.
"They're still looking at no salary increases for most of it," Briggs said.
County officials, including board Chairman Michael F. Gendron, Personnel Chairman David Howard, Finance Chairman Greg Fagan and Administrative Officer Jon Stead, couldn't be reached for comment this morning.
Union negotiating sessions last month were pre-fact-finding meetings. The General Unit negotiations now may go to fact-finding through the state Public Employment Relations Board - one of the last steps in the negotiating process.
According to the PERB website, a fact-finder "inquires into the causes and circumstances of the impasse, along with the positions being advanced by the parties on the disputed issues, through oral and/or written testimony, exhibits, briefs." The fact-finder is empowered only to make recommendations for resolving the impasse, the site says. Either party is free to accept or reject the recommendations.
The site says the PERB director has discretion to authorize appointment of a conciliator to provide additional mediation after issuance of a fact-finder's report.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.