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County Executive's Office

County Reaches Tentative Labor Agreements with Unions Representing More than 1,300 County Workers

January 04, 2011
Joshua Wescott, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
County Executive

Proposed Deal for 2011 Similar to Contract Previously Ratified by Sheriff’s Unions 


Acting Dane County Executive Scott McDonell and Kathleen Falk announced today the county has reached tentative labor agreements with the collective bargaining units represented by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).


Those unions represent more than 1,300 Dane County workers including 911 communicators, snowplow operators, highway workers, and those responsible for juvenile corrections.


Under the first of two tentative agreements that are subject to ratification by the unions and approval by the County Board and County Executive, economic terms of the 2011 contract for bargaining units represented by AFSCME would be the same as the agreement reached between the county and the Dane County Deputies Sheriff’s Association and the Sheriff’s Supervisors for this year.


Those contracts include a three percent (3%) pay increase on the last day of the 2011 contract year.


“When employees put in a hard days work and are expected to be on the job all hours of the day or night, every day of the year including holidays like Christmas and New Years, it’s imperative you treat them fairly,” McDonell said.  “The agreements before us today reflect respectful bargaining and compromise.”


“For 14 years we’ve bargained contracts with our employees in a respectful and fair manner,” Kathleen Falk said.  “We worked hard over the last several months for a fair contract for the future.  I very much appreciate the unions have made concessions to save taxpayers money.”


The second tentative agreement announced by McDonell and Falk would run from 2012 through 2014 and not include any automatic wage increases.  This three-year contract calls for a series of changes to the county’s health insurance plans that will save the county at least $1-million a year in health care premium costs.


Those changes include higher costs to the employee for office visit co-pays, increased co-pays for prescription drugs and emergency room visits, higher deductibles for out of network services and bigger premiums for employees who choose the more expensive health plan options. 


Under terms of the proposal, the contract could be re-opened in those three years to specifically discuss wages, but there are no guaranteed increases.


In exchange for the health care and wage concessions, the county has agreed to continue to cover the employees retirement contribution moving forward.


“There’s always give and take when you bargain in good faith, and I think the agreements before us now strike the right balance of being fair to those who work so hard for the public while being mindful of the need to pursue efficiencies for taxpayers,” McDonell said.


A resolution approving the detailed terms of these agreements will come before the County Board’s Personnel and Finance Committee this Thursday evening (January 6th) and will be considered by the County Board later that night.


“The County Board will take up these contracts at their meeting this Thursday and I will do everything I can over the next few days to convince them that they will keep our workers employed and treat them fairly while protecting the interest of the taxpayer,” McDonell said.  “Let me be clear about one thing:  what happened at the State Capitol must not be repeated here in Dane County.”