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Cass board OK's two-year pacts with unions

The Cass Board voted March 19 to approve one of five pending two-year union contracts with county employees.

Union membership for Teamsters 320, which represents deputies and jailers, approved the contract earlier.

Administrator Robert Yochum reported tentative agreements have been reached with Teamsters 346, which represents dispatchers and records personnel in the sheriff’s office; with the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) unit representing courthouse employees; and with the International Union of Operating Engineers 49 unit representing highway department employees.

Employees in those three bargaining units must vote to accept the tentative agreement before it would take effect.

Negotiations with the AFSCME unit representing health, human and veterans services employees are still in progress.

The approved contract calls for 2.5 percent increase to the county pay plan, effective Jan. 1, 2013, and a second 2.5 percent effective Jan. 1, 2014. It also grants a July 1 step increase in 2013 and in 2014.

The new 2013-2014 contracts call for the county to pay $944 per month toward the county’s cafeteria health insurance program that provides a $2,500 deductible plan. Employees can then choose whether they want to pay additionally toward a family plan or a plan with more coverage.

In 2013 only, employees will also receive a one-time $240 contribution toward insurance expenses.

Once Cass settles all union contracts, past practice has been to grant on an annual basis the same terms to elected officials, non-union county personnel and probation officers who work under the district court as are contained in the uniform union agreements.

The county board does not have a grade on the pay scale. The board reduced its pay in 2010 by 3 percent to match the 64-hour reduction they asked employees to take and has taken no raises in 2011 or 2012 or 2013.