County pays all retirement contributions in new Mahoning CSB deal
The Mahoning County commissioners have ratified a new three-year labor contract with no scheduled pay raises for 97 clerical, group home and case workers at the county children services board.
However, the contract allows for the matter of wages to be re-opened for discussions at any time. Specifically, it says wages “shall be reopened for negotiations by either party upon 30 days’ notice to the other party.”
The contract with Communications Workers of America Local 4300 is retroactive to Feb. 1. The employees, who had previously ratified the contract, earn between $18,000 annually for the lowest paid clerk and $29,000 annually for a top-level child welfare caseworker.
The county will continue to pay the entire employee share of Public Employee Retirement System contributions, which is 10 percent of salary. That’s in addition to paying the employer share, which is 14 percent of salary.
“We’ve worked to have a good relationship with the union. They understand the fiscal challenges that we’re facing and have agreed to accept a wage freeze again,” said Denise Stewart, CSB director.
If the county granted no pay raise and simultaneously tried to curtail its payment of the employee retirement share in negotiations, it would likely lose in fact-finding, unless it could show a hardship, said Rachel L. Livengood, county human resources director.
In past negotiations, the county agreed to pay all or part of the employee share of retirement contributions in various departments instead of giving pay raises, she said.
The employees will continue to pay 10 percent of their monthly health care premiums, which total $728 for single coverage, $1,454 for a couple, $1,352 for employee and child, and $1,549 for a family.