York County Commissioners have approved a contract with about 130 county employees, including about six dozen 911 operators who last year bemoaned their work conditions as untenable.
The three-year contract is retroactive to Jan. 1, when the last contract expired, and runs through the last day of 2017. It includes the county's maintenance, elections, assessment, parks and weights and measures departments.
The 911 operators will be paid retroactively for a $1 per hour pay increase, and will get a 2 percent increase per year for the remaining years of the contract. The $1 per hour increase bumps the starting rate for new hires up to $12.50 per hour, said Kristy Bixler, the county's director of Human Resources.
In addition to the pay, a group of 911 operators who turned out at a commissioners meeting last December said the schedule is unbearable, and said conditions were putting the county at risk because operators were so weary.
The long hours were a result of being short-staffed, a problem Bixler said Wednesday she's hoping will be addressed by increasing the starting wage. She said she and members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local AFL-CIO Union District 89 are still working to resolve the scheduling issues.
Tara Wilson, who represents the workers in the union, said union members earlier voted on and approved the contract. The county is "definitely moving in the right direction" with the new contract, but scheduling is still the primary concern, she said.
"We continue to work with the county to help alleviate the concerns that we have," she said. "It's a difficult job, so hopefully (the raise) will help with retainment and recruitment. It certainly doesn't hurt anything. But no matter what the money, it's still important that people have a somewhat normal schedule."
The provisions: Most others covered in the contract will get 2.5 percent pay increases every year through 2017, unless they're getting a wage adjustment, Bixler said.
Mechanics in the parks department's fleet management will get a pay increase of $1 per hour starting in 2014, the result of some research that showed the workers were comparatively underpaid, she said.
Under the contract, no new hires will be enrolled into the county's "Preferred Plus" health insurance plan, but they will be given other plans from which to choose, she said.
Employees who are already enrolled in the plan will, starting in 2015, have to pay about 19 percent of the county's cost for the plan, which is an increase of more than 5 percent over the expired contract, she said.
The new contract also requires all workers to enroll in direct deposit for their pay, Bixler said.
— Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.