County, union reach contract agreement

August 06, 1997


Staff Writer

Washington County has reached an agreement on a new three-year contract with the union representing about 90 roads, landfill and County Commuter workers, county officials said Tuesday.

The new contract will give the workers the same 3 percent raises that other employees received and makes most benefits, such as the number of personal days and holidays, uniform with other county employees.

The commissioners decided Tuesday not to negotiate on more than 20 points with Local 2677 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 67, said Frank Kollman, a Baltimore lawyer hired to represent the county.


Kollman said the county is only required under the law to bargain with the union on eight issues - personal days, hours of work and wages, overtime pay, safety and health, meal periods, grievance and arbitration procedures, bereavement leave and military leave.

On all other issues, the employees will fall under the county employee handbook, Kollman said.

Wages may be negotiated yearly but other issues are locked in until the year 2000.

Union negotiator George Gisin was on vacation, said Council 67 President Darlene Strock. Strock said she hadn't heard that an agreement had been reached and thought the two sides were still negotiating.

Strock said she couldn't comment on other statements made by Kollman.

The path to an agreement wasn't an easy one, Kollman said.

Kollman said at one point in the negotiations, a union official made offensive statements regarding County Administrator Rodney Shoop and County Human Resources Director Alan Davis while Shoop and Davis weren't present.

Kollman also said the union had threatened to picket and boycott Washington County Commissioner James R. Wade's liquor store, which Kollman said was an illegal tactic.

Kollman also said that the union had offered to accept the old contract offer made shortly before the Washington County Commissioners' attempt to decertify the union March 18. That offer didn't include the 3 percent pay raise for county employees that went into effect July 1.

Shoop and Kollman said the county objected to the old contract because it contained items that are illegal under the new state law, and because it didn't include the pay raise.

Under the law, the county is required to bargain in good faith with the union but can declare an impasse and impose their will, Kollman said.

The law was sparked by the commissioners' decision to decertify the union.

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