Court reporter labor contract up for vote

February 27, 2009
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Kent County commissioners will reduce the number of labor agreements they have to reach from eight to seven, if they ratify a three-year agreement with the court reporters this month.

The reporters are represented by the Police Officers Labor Council and comprise one of the county’s smallest bargaining units: six full-time and two part-time reporters. Only the airport law enforcement and circuit court referee groups have fewer members.

The labor agreement calls for a 2 percent wage hike retroactive to Jan. 1 of this year and another 1 percent increase next July 1. Wages will go up by 2.25 percent in 2010 and by 2.5 percent in 2011.

The new contract will cost the county $66,695 in wages over three years. But a change the county made in the employee health-insurance program will raise the reporters’ cost for that benefit by $2,400 this year.

Including wages, benefits, social security taxes, pension payments, and worker’s and unemployment compensation, the agreement will cost the county $76,206 over its life.

County Human Resources Director Don Clack said his office is working on new labor agreements with seven other employee bargaining units. Clack said the county doesn’t have a good history of reaching an agreement before an existing contract expires and that’s why most pacts contain a retroactive wage increase when the contracts need ratification.

The county negotiating committee and the Finance Committee recommended that the board ratify the new contract.

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