Published: March 30, 2022

March 30, 2022

On March 29, our MCEA bargaining team met with management for a sixth, and very important, bargaining session. At this meeting, we presented management with our economic proposal: an 8.5% Cost-of-living adjustment for all MCEA employees effective July 1, 2022, and an additional COLA of 2-5% (depending on inflation next year) effective July 1, 2023. We also proposed increasing the County’s contribution to our health insurance premiums by $100 each month in 2023 and an additional $100 in 2024.

Even though we presented the county with our petitions showing that a majority of MCEA workers support our bargaining priorities, and shared evidence that our wages have lost significant ground to inflation over the last six years, the County is still proposing COLAs of only 2% per year—far below the current inflation rate.

While we were able to reach tentative agreements on several issues, including the article dealing with how the County provides our union with notices of changes to our working conditions and the article dealing with the length of our next contract, it’s clear that we are still very far apart on the issues that matter most to MCEA workers. The chart below shows the County’s position and our union’s position on our central priorities:

Issue MCEA position Marion County position
Cost-of-Living Increases (COLAs) 8.5% COLA (the inflation rate from February 2022) to go into effect July 1, 2022, and a COLA between 2-5% on July 1, 2023 2% COLA on July 1, 2022 and 2% on July 1, 2023
Health Insurance Monthly premium contribution from the county increases by $100 in 2023 and an additional $100 in 2024 No to additional monthly premium contribution from the county in 2023 and only $25 in 2024.
Pandemic Recognition Bonus $3,000 one-time payment to all MCEA employees required to risk their health and work in-person during the pandemic No to Pandemic Recognition Bonus
Teleworking Rules agreed to by the County in the MCEA Teleworking Letter of Agreement should continue and be incorporated as a permanent article in our contract No to any language or guarantees about teleworking in our contract

We also want to give a special shout-out to the MCEA members in the Juvenile Alternative Programs department who joined us at bargaining to help deliver a proposal to ensure that workers in their department are included in the boot allowance. Currently, they are given only one county-issued pair of chainsaw boots when they’re first hired and any additional protective footwear has to be paid for out of their own pocket—despite the fact that the county requires these folks to wear protective footwear while doing their job.

At this point, it’s clear that all of us who work to keep Marion County running will need to join together to show management that we are serious about our priorities. This is why we will continue to collect signatures on our petition. A majority of us who work for the County have already signed the petition; if you or any of your coworkers haven’t signed yet, please do so todayA large and growing majority of workers signing will make a real difference in our union’s power and ability to win meaningful changes at the bargaining table.