Government and Human Resources

Kent County to act on three union contracts

Committee unanimously endorses 2 percent wage increase per year.

December 5, 2014
| By Pete Daly |
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A committee of the Kent County board of commissioners has approved three union contracts that will include 2 percent raises each year for three years, if the full board gives its assent Dec. 18.

About half of the commissioners were at a Nov. 25 meeting of the Legislative & Human Resources Committee, chaired by District 19 Commissioner Shana Shroll. They unanimously endorsed the contract proposals for the five members of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport command officers association, the six Kent County circuit court attorney referees, and the 16 Parks Department employees who are members of the Teamsters Union.

Each contract will run three years, starting Jan. 1, and each provides a 2 percent wage increase each year.

A standard requirement that was previously in the contracts stipulating that union members must pay their union dues has been deleted in accordance with the new Right to Work law in Michigan, according to Shroll.

A health care insurance premium paid by each employee also is going up, from 17.5 percent this year to 20 percent in the new contracts. The contract also will stipulate a $250 deductible for single employees and $500 for a family.

Shroll said the total cost to the county of the contract increases in wages and benefits over the three years will total:

  • $92,533 for the Circuit Court referees, with $77,176 of that being in wages.
  • $42,032 for the airport law enforcement command officers, with $39,655 being in wages.
  • $142,776 for the Parks employees, with $122,719 being in wages.

The only other county union contract due to expire at the end of this year is the one covering 200 sheriff’s department road patrol deputies, represented by the Police Officers Association of Michigan. The county board already approved that new three-year contract in October; it also includes a 2 percent increase per year. The total cost of that increase in wages and benefits over three years is approximately $1.75 million.

Another change in 2015 for county employees is an increase in the employee share of contributions to their retirement benefits, which will go up from 8.5 percent capped to 9.5 percent capped.

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