Tentative Dane Co. union contract includes wage increase

Agreement for 2016 includes 22-cent raise, focus on workplace diversity
Tentative Dane Co. union contract includes wage increase

Dane County and the county’s largest employee union have negotiated a tentative agreement for 2016 that includes a wage increase, according to a release issued Monday.

Pending ratification and final approval by the Dane County Board this week, the agreement will include a focus on workplace diversity, a modest wage increase for workers, and will help control the county’s long-term health insurance premium costs, according to the release.

“Dane County’s employees work hard to deliver critical services to our residents every day – from keeping our communities safe to taking care of the most vulnerable among us,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said in the release. “We are proud to partner with them once again and provide an example of how collective bargaining works in Dane County.”

The county’s union workforce has worked with the county executive to find nearly $4 million in savings in the past three years through voluntary leave, wage reductions and furlough days, officials said.

“The vast majority of Dane County citizens support collective bargaining and quality public services. This agreement shows the wisdom of working together and honors Dane County values,” said Shannon Maier, president of the joint council of AFSCME locals 705 and 720.

The agreement gives employees a raise in 2016 of 22 cents an hour, which will be paid for in part by savings the county will receive from changes in the employees’ health insurance plans, officials said. There will also be the opportunity to revisit additional wage adjustments in August 2015, depending on the county’s budget outlook.

Also as part of the agreement, a joint labor and management committee will work to increase minority recruitment and retention in the county’s workforce, which is a key focus of the county executive, county board and labor leaders, according to the release.

“I’m pleased that we could negotiate an agreement that improves wages and respects workers,” Dane County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan said. “Our workforce has helped us through difficult budgets times. I’m glad we could recognize their contribution to the well-being of the residents of Dane County.”