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TRUMBULL COUNTY CSEA workers narrowly OK pact



Published: Tue, November 20, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Commissioners will seek to persuade all county workers to pay a portion of their health insurance costs.

By STEPHEN SIFF

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Trumbull County Child Support Enforcement workers returned to their desks this morning dressed in black, to symbolize lingering resentments after four weeks on the picket line.

County commissioners say they will approve a labor pact with the 55 members of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3808 at a meeting this morning.

The agreement, which requires employees to begin paying a portion of the costs of their health care plan, was approved by the union rank and file Monday. The vote was 25 to 23.

"It is a bitter pill," said Mark Carlson, the union's staff representative. "Nobody was happy about it at all."

The union did win some concessions in the three-year contract.

Members received a $500 signing bonus and will keep their paid lunch hour. They will also receive a 3 percent raise in the third year of the contract. They had previously settled on a 31/2 percent raise in the first year of the contract back in May. There will be no raise in the second year.

Workers at the agency now earn between $9.19 and $14.78 an hour.

Health care premiums: On health care -- the issue that sent the workers to the streets -- the county's position prevailed.

Beginning in July, workers will start paying 10 percent of their health insurance premiums. The amount is capped at $60 per month for family coverage, and $30 per month for single coverage, for the first year. The cap jumps to $80 and $40 the second year, and there is no cap after that.

"We stood out for four weeks and now we have to pay anyway," said Dori McCloud, a worker at CSEA.

Others to be affected: This agreement will be a template for agreements with the seven other unions whose members get health insurance through the county, said commissioner Michael O'Brien. He said the terms will also be extended to the 447 non-union county employees.

None of these groups now participate in the cost of their health insurance plan.

The change was necessitated by rising costs, said commissioner Joseph Angelo Jr.

Labor negotiations are under way with unionized employees of the Trumbull County Sheriff's Department, Jobs and Family Services and 911, whose contracts all expire before the end of the year.




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