County union seeks 5% cost-of-living raise Added pay sought for longevity, merit

April 14, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

The union that represents some Carroll employees asked the county commissioners yesterday for a 5 percent cost-of-living raise, plus longevity and merit raises.

"The cost-of-living [raise] is absolutely necessary and should be done," said J. Roger Murphy, a labor relations representative from the Maryland Classified Employees Association Inc. in Baltimore

County employees have not had a cost-of-living raise in three years and need to "pick up some of the ground they lost," he said during a meeting at the County Office Building.

Saying he is "a realist," he asked the commissioners to approve the cost-of-living raise and either the longevity or merit raise.

MCEA Chapter 550 represents about 85 county employees, most in the roads and maintenance departments, said chapter President Ed Bilz, a roads equipment operator.

MCEA Chapter 551 represents about 25 road deputies in the Sheriff's Department, Mr. Murphy said. Members of this chapter did not attend yesterday's meeting.

The county employs about 500 people. The MCEA does not have a contract with the county.

The commissioners are working to finalize their proposed budget for fiscal year 1994, which begins July 1. A news conference to release the budget is scheduled at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow in Room 7 in the County Office Building.

The Board of Education has asked the commissioners to approve a 3 percent raise for its employees.

Commissioner Donald I. Dell said the commissioners will consider the MCEA proposal.

"We hope to have an answer for everybody on Thursday," he said.

Mr. Murphy complimented the commissioners for not laying off any employees during the budget crisis of the past few years. The union has sought raises in recent years, but its main concern was "preserving jobs," he said.

Mr. Bilz thanked the commissioners for a $500 raise each full-time employee received in early March. The county saved about $80,000 on health insurance claims last year and used the money to give employees raises.

Mr. Dell asked union representatives if across-the-board raises would be acceptable instead of percentage-increase raises.

Mr. Murphy said across-the-board raises would be a way to compensate all employees at the same rate. That type of raise would help close the gap between employees at each end of the pay scale, he said.

In addition to cost-of-living raises effective July 1, Mr. Murphy asked the commissioners to reinstate longevity raises. The last time county employees received longevity raises was 1990.

"It's a way to reward employees who have been on your payroll for some time," he said.

Mr. Bilz suggested 2.5 percent for employees with four to eight years of experience and 5 percent for employees with nine to 14 years. Longevity raises for employees with 15, 20, 25 and 30 years of experience are built into the pay scale, Mr. Murphy said.

The union also asked for merit raises for employees who do well on annual performance reviews, suggesting 2.5 percent raises for those who meet job standards and 5 percent for those who exceed them.

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