After months of impasse, County Detention Center guards signed a newone-year contract yesterday that contains no raise but will pay themfor hours they've been working without pay since July.
The contract will pay the guards for extra hours they've worked during the lastsix weeks, but the union will have to go to court to get about $300,000 it says members are owed for additional hours they've worked since January 1990.
At that time, Detention Center Director Richard Baker added 13 1/2 unpaid days to their annual schedule.
Leigh Hauf, president of the Fraternal Order of Anne Arundel Detention Center Officers, said the union will continue its Circuit
Court fight for back pay. No court date has been set for the case.
County Executive Robert R. Neall asked the county's six unions to extend their contracts until next year, when the economy might make a pay raise possible. Only the detention center union refused.
The union wanted a return to its workweek of six days on and three days off, the power to file class-actiongrievances instead of separate complaints, and an end to the use of contract employees, among other demands.
An independent mediator who was called in to resolve the dispute recommended in favor of the union in a non-binding report.
In May, the impasse went to the County Council, which agreed to allow class-action grievances and formed a committee to study the use of contract employees. The council also approved additional money for extra hours worked in the future.
But the council sided with the administration on the central issue by not agreeing to restore the guards' original schedule, which allows more frequent weekends off.
County officials say they have the rightto change the work schedule to improve detention center operations. Because of a record prison population and employee vacancies, Baker changed the workweek to five days on and two days off, rotating the fourth week to four days on and two days off. The effect was to add about 115 hours a year.
Hauf indicated that union members were unhappy with the council's decision on the issues.But, he added, "those arethe rules, and we agreed to abide by them."
Acting Personnel Director Michael Milanowski said he was pleased the contract was settled.
"It was obviously a very difficult negotiation," he said. "I think we got some issues we were interested in, and not the whole ball ofwax, and I think the union is in the same position."
The two sides will begin negotiations again in January.