County Board Approves Union Contracts

Knox County SealAfter keeping the matter quiet for some time, Knox County was able to divulge a few specifics on two union contracts.

The Board, during Wednesday night’s meeting, approved agreements with union representatives of the Highway Department and Landfill.

Negotiations have taken several months to complete with the Highway Department taking almost one year to finish negotiations. Highway Department Administrator Duane Ratterman tells WGIL a two-year deal was recommended.

“It was a long drawn-out process, but a lot of that had to do with attorney schedules and things like that,” says Ratterman. “Hopefully the next one will go a little faster, but I’m glad it’s behind us and now we can move on.”

Changes in sick days and rates of pay were among the alterations from the previous Highway Department agreement.

Legal matters prevent the County from discussing the contracts until the agreements have been formalized.

Like the Highway Department, the Knox County Landfill was also able to attain a multi-year agreement, only they added a third year. Landfill Administrator Jerry Reynolds tells WGIL the union employees are well aware of financial constraints in the County.

“They know that it’s in their best interest to try to get the best percentage increase that they can for their members and we understand that, but we just have to also keep in line with what we feel the County can substantially afford to do that with,” says Reynolds.

Among the benefits received, Landfill employees will see a raise of 1.5-percent for the first two years and a 2-percent raise on the third contract year. The Landfill agreement takes effect immediately and will proceed for the three year period. Very little discussion was had by board members while voting on the items.

Knox County has, of late, been attempting to reach multi-year agreements with their employee unions to improve consistency and contain costs.

The Board approved the agreements unanimously.

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