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Union considers county's furlough plan

BROOKSVILLE — Teamsters Union representatives this week tentatively agreed to have county workers who are members take 10 furlough days this year to try to avoid more drastic measures such as layoffs or hour reductions.

Furloughs have been one of the sticking points in recent weeks as the Hernando County administration worked on its first contract with the Teamsters, which represents 526 county workers.

Last month, county commissioners voted to require the 93 non-union county employees to take the furlough days. That is expected to save Hernando about $118,345 in this fiscal year's budget.

But county officials have built into the budget a payroll cut of more than $500,000 and warned that more savings would have to be found through layoffs and additional cuts in hours.

If union members approve the furlough plan, the county would save $419,000 from the general fund from both union and non-union workers, and $674,536 more in other county funds.

Cheryl Marsden, county human resources director, said the county hopes the furlough plan will fly because "that would be better for everyone involved.''

Also during the Monday negotiation session with the union, the teams reached a tentative agreement on issues including seniority, work hours and overtime and leaves of absence.

The work hours section formalizes normal work weeks at 40 hours, something the administration team fought to settle after the furloughs already were decided. A proposal allowing employees to voluntarily work less than 40 hours was also tentatively approved.

The seniority section deals with employee displacement when a senior staff member faces losing his or her job.

The displacement portion mirrors an existing county policy that has not been used much in the past. It allows a senior worker facing job elimination to bump a junior employee.

Still unsettled are discipline and grievance provisions and a "maintenance of benefits" clause. Once all the sections of the proposed contract are completed, they will go to a vote of their membership and then the County Commission.

The next negotiation sessions are slated for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 16 and 22.

Union considers county's furlough plan 10/06/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 8:26pm]
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