St. Louis Co. Makes New Offer Days Before Possible Strike
Posted at: 08/26/2013 2:42 PM
| Updated at: 08/26/2013 11:00 PM
Days before a possible strike by about one thousand St. Louis County workers, the county has made a new offer to AFSCME representatives.
The county said Monday it has agreed to accept the union's offer regarding maximum sick leave accumulation and payout upon retirement. The issue was said to be the sticking point between the two sides.
"We never wanted a strike," Communications Manager Dana Kazel said. "If this is what it takes to prevent a strike, then we'll be happy with it. We have presented this information to the union. It's up to them now to respond."
AFSCME has not responded publicly to the new offer yet. A strike is still possible until a deal is made.
Before the new offer was announced, county workers in Virginia rallied Monday. They said they wanted to make their opinions clear about what they call a fair contract.
"I want to be sitting next to somebody where I work...who gets the exact same treatment as I do," SLC Social Worker Brandi Webb said.
Employees in the Civil Service and Merit System Basic bargaining units filed an intent-to-strike notice last week, with a strike possible as early as Friday.
The county had proposed capping accumulated sick hours at 1,900 hours for current employees and 1,150 hours for future employees.
"We didn't want to touch the benefits of our current employees," Kazel said. "We wanted to continue to honor the benefits they've negotiated for in the past."
The county says AFSCME proposed a cap of 1,500 hours for all current and future employees, which the county has now agreed to. Current employees with more than 1,500 hours already accumulated will be able to keep those hours.
"It's about principle," SLC Child Protection Worker Dennis Frazier said. "Something that is both fair to older and younger workers and does not pit younger workers against each other and destroy the harmonious working relationship we have in our workplace."
Kazel said the offer from the county is a short-term solution. A multi-million dollar liability for the sick leave will remain a problem in the future.