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King County, Union Agree on Wage Policy
Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle)

August 17, 2010
View the Original Article

King County and a labor union representing public employees have agreed that workers will forgo cost-of-living wage increases in 2011.

It's part of King County Executive Dow Constantine's effort to close an estimated $60 million gap in next year’s general fund budget.

Here's King County's press release:

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Chris Dugovich, president of the Washington State Council of County and City Employees, today announced they have reached tentative agreement on a contract reopener that calls for no cost-of-living increase in 2011.

“We reached out to our employees to be part of the solution in our effort to maintain services to the public despite the loss of revenues, and the Washington State Council of County and City Employees is the first to step up to partner with us,” said Executive Constantine. “I appreciate the talks we’ve had and their willingness to face our financial realities together.”

“Our interest is in saving services for the public and preserving jobs for our members,” said Dugovich. “When a job goes away it is not likely to come back anytime soon. That hurts not only our members but the residents who depend upon the public services our members provide.”

Union members must approve the tentative agreement. The union has 10 bargaining units with COLA reopeners for next year. The units collectively represent nearly 500 County employees who provide a wide range of services to the public – from District Court clerks and juvenile court detention supervisors and probation counselors, to building custodians and hazardous waste workers.

Members in the 10 bargaining units have received the tentative agreement in the mail, and ballots are due back in late August. If members approve, the new contract provision would take effect on January 1, 2011.