Jackson County and union finalize contract

Jackson County and the union that represents a majority of its employees have struck a three-year collective bargaining agreement, avoiding mediation in the process.

The contract stipulates no consumer price index salary adjustments for the first year for Service Employees International Union Local 503/Jackson County Employees Association Local 497, which represents close to 500 employees from all county departments but the sheriff's office and adult parole and probation.

Workers must receive the same adjustments — if any — as department managers in 2014-15.

"We would get an increase, the same as management, or the CPI, whichever's less," said Lisa Stewart, JCEA president. "It's just making sure everyone's on the same level of respect."

The union can request a cost-of-living raise based on the CPI in 2015-16, and will decided if money is available.

The county will contribute a maximum of $1,325 toward health insurance premium costs per full-time employee per month in 2013-14. Employees will contribute about $46 a month.

The county will contribute a maximum of $1,335 per full-time employee per month in 2014-15 and $1,345 per full-time employee per month in 2015-16.

Jackson County's Board of Commissioners approved the agreement at Thursday's work session. The union ratified the contract in October. Negotiations began in February.

"I think it's a good contract for both sides," County Administrator Danny Jordan said.

Stewart said no cost-of-living adjustment was distressing to some members, but that negotiations went well overall.

"I do appreciate the fact that mediation was avoided. That's never fun, either," Stewart said. "I think we did OK. There are a lot of factors involved in it. I think we came out of it pretty un-scarred. In the end it worked out really well."

— Ryan Pfeil

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