Children’s Services union proposes settlement to end strike

The union representing striking Montgomery County Children Services workers made an offer Wednesday afternoon to the county to end the impasse. STAFF

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The union representing striking Montgomery County Children Services workers made an offer Wednesday afternoon to the county to end the impasse. STAFF

The union representing about 270 striking Montgomery County Children Services workers said it made an offer to the county to end the impasse.

The proposal would increase the minimum of the wage scales by 4% and the maximum of the scales by 3%.

MORE: Children Services workers to go on strike again Sunday

Professionals Guild of Ohio (PGO) represents Montgomery County child welfare workers who handle abuse and neglect cases for about 2,000 children.

Union workers officially went on strike at 9 a.m. Sunday, and on Wednesday afternoon, PGO Executive President Chauncey Mason and local Union President Jane Hay said the proposed settlement was sent to county officials over the weekend.

Their plan states retroactively to April 1 that all employees would receive a 4% increase over their current wage rate regardless of where they are in the pay range. In addition, the deal would increase the top of the pay range 3% and minimum pay would increase by 3%.

Employees also would get a lump sum of $250 upon ratification, and workers with an evaluation score of 2.1 or more would get 1% in merit pay, under the proposal.

A county spokeswoman said the union plan would cost the county more this year and in future years, leading officials to reject the offer.

MORE: State board to rule on future of Children Services strike

The union had asked for a 6% wage increase consistent with one the county recently gave workers represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, according to Mason.

Hay said AFSCME received a 6% wage increase, a $500 ratification lump sum and a 6% minimum and 2% maximum extension of its wage ranges.

“The fact finder in this case proposed a 6% wage increase with 10% extension of both the minimum and maximum wage ranges,” she said. “Our proposal is significantly less than these. I hope this will lead to the return of labor peace in Montgomery County.”

MORE: County, union divide grows in Children Services dispute

When negotiations began nearly seven months ago, the county originally offered a 1.5% increase, but later changed it to 2% and 4%.

Its most recent offer was for 5%, but top-scale earners would get a 5% lump-sum payment.

After looking at the PGO proposed settlement agreement, county spokeswoman Brianna Wooten said the county is always open to return to negotiations, but the offer wasn’t fiscally responsible.

“The most recent proposal submitted by PGO would have been even more costly to our taxpayers than the 5 percent offer that the union members turned down last week,” she said.

She said the county rejected the offer as fiscally irresponsible.

“We are still willing to return to bargaining table, and hopeful that the union is willing to negotiate for a wage increase that is both fair and reasonable,” Wooten said.

She said the proposal cannot be compared with AFSCME.

“This offer amounts to approximately 5.5% and changes pay ranges, which would in effect cost the county and taxpayers substantially more over time,” Wooten said. “AFSCME received a 2% merit increase, 2% across-the-board (anyone at top would have gotten a lump sum), $500 lump sum, and two step adjustments. AFSCME is on ‘steps’ and they do not have ranges.”

MORE: State board: Striking Montgomery County children’s services employees must return to work

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