BROOKSVILLE — After sorting out issues such as a discipline policy and grievance process, Hernando County and the Teamsters Union late Friday reached a tentative two-year agreement on their first contract.
Finalizing the deal will now be in the hands of the 550 professional and nonprofessional county workers who comprise the rank-and-file of the Teamsters, with a vote possible on Oct. 26, said Cheryl Marsden, Hernando County director of human resources.
The County Commission could take up the issue at its Nov. 10 meeting.
Marsden and Teamsters bargaining agent John Sholtes announced the agreement after Friday's session.
County workers overwhelmingly voted in March to have the Teamsters Union represent them, citing concerns about job security during the early days of the county's revenue shortfall predictions and beginning budget-cutting measures.
Talks began in late April and the Teamsters agreed to forgo pay raises for workers in this contract given the budget crisis gripping the county.
The sides worked out some daunting issues in recent discussions, including an agreement on 10 furlough days for union workers to help the county meet its budget plans to reduce payroll costs.
"We've reached an agreement we will recommend with confidence to the board,'' Marsden said in a prepared release. "We were pleased with the level of cooperation demonstrated by all parties involved and we look forward to continuing this relationship in the future.''
In his statement, Sholtes also expressed pleasure at reaching an agreement.
"The members' issues concerning job security, fair discipline, seniority rights and stopping favoritism have all been addressed,'' he was quoted as saying. "Of course, it is now in the hands of the employees to decide on whether or not they approve.''
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at email@example.com or (352) 848-1434.