Union workers want paid holiday back


By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 11:01 am on Wednesday, May 22, 2013

STANTON — Montcalm County union employees want one of their paid holidays reinstated.

In December 2011, the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners and Local 3067.03 approved a three-year labor contract good from Jan. 1, 2012, through Dec. 31, 2014.

Local 3067.03 is affiliated with Michigan Council No. 25 American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME). The 30-member group of employees works for Animal Control, the Commission on Aging, the Clerk’s Office, the Equalization Office, the Maintenance Office, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Register of Deeds Office and the Treasurer’s Office.

Part of the three-year labor contract specified employees must take seven unpaid furlough days including the day after Thanksgiving and a floating day to be determined by employees and their supervisors, as well as five mandatory days — the Friday before Memorial Day, the Friday before Labor Day, Good Friday and two other Fridays (March 22 and Aug. 9 of of this year, Jan. 31 and Aug. 8 of next year). The furlough days equated to cutting 56 hours from employee time each year.

Deb Ballard from the Equalization Office and Scott Wright from the Maintenance Office appeared before the county’s Finance & Personnel Committee last Monday, May 13, on behalf of the union to request that the Friday after Thanksgiving be reinstated as a paid holiday this year and next year.

Ballard and Wright said they heard the county had received an influx of money from overdue Montcalm Center for Behavioral Health lease payments. Union workers want some of these funds to be used for paying employees to have the Friday after Thanksgiving off as a paid holiday.

“We’ve had zero wage increases for two years,” Wright said. “We’ll get a 1 percent increase in 2014. We went from paying 15 percent of our health care to 20 percent. We took the bargaining committee’s word about giving us these furlough days and we think now is the time.”

Ballard said the union would also like the floating furlough day reinstated next year.

“We’d be willing to forget the floating day this year, but have it reinstated for next year as some people have already taken their floating day this year,” Ballard said.

The Finance & Personnel Committee voted to refer the union’s request to the county’s Collective Bargaining Committee.

 

A closer look at Montcalm County Local 3067.03

Longevity

•  Five- to nine-year employees receive a $200 longevity benefit.

• Ten- to 14-year employees receive a $300 longevity benefit.

• Fifteen- to 19-year employees receive a $400 longevity benefit.

• Twenty-year-plus employees receive a $500 longevity benefit.

* Longevity benefits only apply to employees hired before Dec. 31, 1986. Employees hired after that date are not eligible for longevity benefits.

Retirement

• Montcalm County provides a pension plan to all employees who were hired before Jan. 1, 2004. Employees are required to contribute 3.5 percent of gross wages to the pension, including health insurance buy-out payments.

• Employees hired after Jan. 1, 2004, participate in the Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan (MERS) and contribute 3.5 percent minimum of gross wages to the pension, including health insurance buy-out payments.

Life insurance

• Montcalm County provides a term life insurance policy in the amount of $10,000 for full-time employees and $5,000 for part-time employees.

Holidays

• Employees receive eight hours pay on each of the following holidays: Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving Day, Veterans Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

* When one of these holidays falls on a Saturday, it’s recognized on the preceding Friday. When one of these holidays falls on a Sunday, it’s recognized on the following Monday.

Vacation time

• One-year employees receive 10 working days’ leave and 80 hours pay.

• Eight-year employees receive 15 working days’ leave and 120 hours pay.

• Fifteen-year employees receive 20 working days’ pay and 160 hours pay.

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