Correctional officers to vote on contract

April 05, 1995|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Sun Staff Writer

The county and a union representing county correctional officers have reached a tentative one-year agreement that recognizes the officers as public safety workers and gives them a 4 1/2 percent raise.

"I'm very hopeful that it will be ratified," said county Chief Administrative Officer Raquel Sanudo. "It shows a commitment between the county administration and Local 3080."

"I'm sure it will pass," said Cpl. Donald Armes, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal employees, Local 3080, Council 67, AFL-CIO.

The union, which must ratify the agreement before it can go into effect, probably will vote within two weeks, Mr. Armes said. If approved, it will replace the current contract, which expires in July, and will affect about 99 correctional officers, he said.

Last week's tentative agreement includes a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for fiscal year 1996 and a 2 1/2 percent, one-step merit raise due on the work anniversary date, and time-and-a-half for work performed on three holidays. The officers previously received days off instead of holiday pay.

The language in the agreement also identifies the correctional officers, whose starting salary is $22,500, as public safety workers, something they've sought for years, Mr. Armes said.

The tentative agreement comes while an arbitrator tries to settle differences between the county and the police union involving work shifts, retirement plans, salaries and other benefits.

Getting better pensions also was a major issue for the correctional officers, said Mr. Armes. "We're way behind the other jurisdictions," he said. "In most counties, the correctional officer works 20 to 25 years and is out."

In Howard County, however, correctional officers and many other county workers are under the state retirement system, which uses a combination of age and years of service to determine benefits.

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