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November 07, 2019

Battle Over: Teamsters and County Reach Agreement

November 7, 2018

     After months of negotiations county employees represented by Teamsters Local 542 and Imperial County reached an agreement on their contract negotiations.


     A memorandum of understanding with both parties was ratified by the Imperial County Board of Supervisors at its Oct. 16 meeting. In September, Teamsters members rejected the county’s contract offer and forced a return to the negotiation table.


     The agreement includes the Management Unit, Professional Employee Group, Working Supervisors Unit and the Confidential Clerical Bargaining Units.


     On Sept. 27, the county issued “the last, best and final offer” to Teamsters. It was approved by union members on Oct. 10. The agreement calls for a 2.2 percent base wage adjustment effective for the 2018-19 fiscal year that began July 1 through the 2019-20 fiscal year that ends June 30, 2020.


     The agreement includes a tuition reimbursement increase of $500 for undergraduate and graduate studies. Cesar Chavez Day was added as a holiday.


     County Human Resources Director Rodolfo Aguayo told the board the compensation increases provided during the term of the agreement will satisfy any obligations to reopen negotiations of the MOU.


     In addition, both parties agreed to the county’s proposal to increase the life insurance coverage from $50,000 to $75,000.


     The item was originally placed on the consent agenda portion of the meeting but was pulled for discussion to approve some last-minute modifications Teamsters requested during the days before the meeting. Unlike other meetings where Teamsters employees asked the board to approve a fair contract, this time there were no speakers and no discussion by the board regarding the contract approval.


     In other items, the supervisors voted to extend the due date payment for a company that received money from the Agricultural Benefit Program. California Ethanol and Power received $750,000 in 2015. The funding was to assist the firm in finalizing

plans to construct a biofuel and biomass energy facility in the county. To date, the company has drawn a total of $674,101 for various expenses associated with the project.


     The loan agreement states the first payment in the amount of $84,262.64 plus interest would be due Nov. 10. County Deputy Chief Executive Officer Andy Horne told the board the company has encountered delays in getting the final engineering cost estimates completed. The firm sough a one-year extension of the first payment date. The board approved a six-month extension by a 3-2 vote with supervisors Ryan Kelley and Luis Plancarte casting dissenting votes.

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