Published: March 9, 2022

March 9, 2022

On Tuesday, March 9, we met with the management bargaining team for our fifth negotiation meeting. While this was more contentious than previous meetings, it was also productive and important issues were laid out on the table and discussed.

At this meeting, our union bargaining team again asked about our proposal for hazard pay for employees who worked in-person during the pandemic. Management representatives told us that they did not have authorization to agree to that. We also proposed extending the Letter of Agreement on telecommuting to June 30 (the expiration date of our current union contract) while we continue to negotiate over including telecommuting language in our next contract. Management stated that they couldn’t agree to our proposal but instead offered a potential “administrative continuance” in lieu of contract language. Our position is that management should not arbitrarily be pulling anyone back from telecommuting and that they need to put their commitments in writing, which is to say, they need to agree to contract language that spells out workers’ rights relating to telecommuting.

Management also gave us an economic proposal: 2% cost-of-living increases each of the next two years, a zero increase to the County’s health insurance contribution next year, and a $25 increase in the County’s health insurance contribution in 2024. While we didn’t formally respond at this session, our bargaining team will be making our wage and health insurance proposals to the County at our next meeting where we will be proposing wage increases that keep pace with the actual cost of living for workers in Marion County.

Our union’s priorities in these negotiations are clear:

  • Wages that keep pace with the rising cost of living
  • Hazard pay for people who had to work in-person during the pandemic
  • Telecommuting options where it makes sense
  • No cuts to health insurance or retirement
  • Respect on the job

At this point, it’s obvious that the County needs to see all of us who work for the County standing up together and saying with one voice that we will not accept less than what we deserve, or anything less than the value of our work.