Saturday, December 16, 2017
News Roundup

Pasco County government Teamsters ratify one-year employment contract

The union for more than half of Pasco County's workers ratified a tentative one-year contract deal, an agreement that comes after more than three years of talks between Pasco and Teamsters Local 79, which started representing 1,100 county workers in 2010.

The contract passed by a vote of 248-63, Teamsters lead negotiator John Sholtes said.

The deal will go to the County Commission for a final vote later in April or in May.

The sides have a tangled history, with more than 50 disputed items at the start of negotiations more than three years ago.

After an impasse in 2011, a special magistrate sided with the union, but commissioners rejected the magistrate's findings and forced the sides back to the bargaining table.

They again went before a magistrate in late January after another impasse. Two issues — overtime pay and discipline rules — blocked the agreement, but only one remained by the time of the magistrate's hearing: OT pay.

The county wanted tougher overtime rules for weeks with holidays or when workers go to a funeral or take a day or two of vacation. It wanted that leave time to not count toward the 40-hour threshold when calculating overtime.

But the union's position was if a holiday or vacation day occurs during the work week, a worker shouldn't have to work 40 hours, or four 10-hour days, the rest of the week to qualify for overtime. The union's position prevailed.

"We fought to win a strong first contract for these hardworking public employees, and we won," said Ken Wood, president of Teamsters Local 79 in Tampa and Teamsters international vice president. He said the contract included a recognition of seniority, just-cause provisions and wage increases.

The contract covers workers as diverse as road and bridge workers to librarians.

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