Anne Arundel, 800-member union reach an agreement

AFSCME pact provides 2% raise in first of 3 years

Regional

January 27, 2004|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County has reached a three-year agreement with its largest employee union, a sign that County Executive Janet S. Owens is willing to dole out raises for the next fiscal year.

The county's approximately 800-member labor and maintenance union, AFSCME Local 582, ratified Thursday an agreement that would provide employees a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for the fiscal year that begins July 1, county officials said. In subsequent years they would receive raises of 3 percent and 2 percent.

The contracts for all 10 of the county's employee unions expire June 30. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees contract was the first to be ratified.

Last year, negotiations with several unions stalled, and Owens proposed a wage freeze for nearly all county employees. After the County Council voted down her wage-freeze proposal for public safety employees, she laid off 16 police officers. Eight were later rehired.

Those public safety employees received raises tied to length of service, but not cost-of-living increases. Pay for nonunion employees remained frozen.

County Personnel Officer Mark Atkisson declined yesterday to discuss negotiations with other unions, but he indicated that the county will also offer them cost-of-living increases next fiscal year.

Atkisson said the new agreement with AFSCME raises employee contribution rates for health care costs, but he declined to provide specifics.

The union's president declined to comment yesterday.

The pay increases are contingent on County Council approval of Owens' budget proposal for the next fiscal year. Not including the cost-of-living increases, county officials are projecting a $15 million shortfall.

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