An arbitrator has issued a decision spelling a minor victory for two county labor groups and dealing a symbolic loss to County Executive Robert R. Neall.
The non-binding decision by arbitrator Jerome H. Ross of McLean, Va., recommends that the county continue to pay the $48,000 cost to clean workers uniforms, continue to adhere to restrictions on subcontracting out work, and to grant release time for local presidents to handle labor matters.
The arbitrator was sought by locals 582 and 2563 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said Cecilia Fabula, business agent for both groups. The locals represent 1,270 blue-collar and clerical workers.
Although the arbitrator's decision is non-binding, it represents a victory for both locals, which asked the County Council to have impasse hearings to resolve disputed issues in the contract talks.
The council has the final say when contract negotiations between the administration and unions bog down.
County police have also declared an impasse and asked the council for a hearing, set for May 21. County firefighters voted to ratify a contract last week.
Michael Milanowski, county labor relations director, said unions representing sheriff's deputies and jail guards are due to vote on a pact.
Fabula said the arbitrator, selected by both the unions and county management, recommended that county workers get a 1 percent wage increase.