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Franklin probation officers will get back pay

January 07, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Probation Department and Domestic Relations officers will be getting approximately $100,000 in back pay from last year as a result of an arbitration settlement approved by an arbitration panel last month.

"They're a great bunch of employees, and for the job they're doing, they needed to be compensated," said Tom Krause, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 992.

The arbitration panel's ruling awarded the probation and domestic relations officers an 8 percent increase retroactive to Jan. 1, 2006, Krause said.

Over the life of the four-year contract, the union members will receive a 22 percent increase in wages, Krause said. The retroactive increase from 2006 was figured into the county's 2007 budget, he said.

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Combined with a 6 percent increase effective Jan. 1 of this year, Krause said the officers effectively are getting a 14 percent increase this year. Krause said the contract runs through 2009.

The officers from Adult and Juvenile Probation and Domestic Relations voted in October 2004 to join the union, according to information provided by Krause. The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board certified the union as the exclusive bargaining unit for the officers the following month.

The county and the bargaining unit held a series of negotiation sessions from March through June 2005, but failed to reach a contract agreement, and the union requested arbitration. Evidentiary hearings later were held before the three-member arbitration panel, which signed the award on Dec. 27, according to the information provided by Krause.

"We're still reviewing it ourselves," John Aguirre, the county's director of Human Resources, said last week of the settlement. Aguirre said he could not comment on the arbitration award without first consulting with the county's legal counsel.

When the 2007 budget was passed Dec. 28 by the Board of County Commissioners, Commissioner G. Warren Elliott said it included a 3 percent increase in wages and salaries for the county's 950 employees, most of whom are nonunion.

Along with the pay increases, Krause said the settlement also includes the following:

· Employees will receive longevity increases of 1 percent in their 11th, 16th and 21st years of employment.

· Improved vacation benefits.

· A 5 percent cap on increases paid by employees for the cost of health insurance in 2008 and 2009.

· A change on the officers' workweek from 371/2 to 40 hours.

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