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Contract talks reach impasse

Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 05:28 PM

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Contract talks have broken down again between Hernando County and union employees, presumably sending matters into the hands of a special magistrate.

John Sholtes, business agent for Teamsters Local 79, said in a memo the impasse occurred during negotiations for the parties' second collective bargaining agreement.

Talks broke down over three issues: health insurance, salaries and seniority. The seniority issue deals with job assignments, shift selection and overtime.

Sholtes said it is the union's position that further mediation would not yield a positive outcome and is recommending the magistrate.

Last March, contract talks broke down over wages and health insurance and management declared an impasse.

Sholtes at that time recommended a special magistrate but it never got to that point, said County Commission Chairman Wayne Dukes.

Negotiations had resumed with hope of reaching an agreement, but now talks have broken down again, forcing another impasse, Dukes said.

"Unless they decide to do otherwise it will probably go there," Dukes said.

The Teamsters union was asking for an across-the-board increase of $28 more per paycheck toward their health insurance and wanted it retroactive to last year, Director of Administrative Services Cheryl Marsden said at Tuesday's county commission meeting.

That would equate to a $400,000 hit to the county's budget.

That big a hit is not a reasonable request at this time, Dukes said.

The county continues to explore options of closing a $2 million general fund shortfall to balance the 2012-13 fiscal year budget.

"When we went back to the table we were not able to make any progress," Marsden said.

Assistant County Attorney Jon Jouben cautioned county commissioners from discussing at length the impasse for fear of compromising the negotiating process. (352) 544-5290

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