|Cathy Allen and Justus James|
James called the contract the result of 2 1/2 years of negotiation, which ultimately went to binding arbitration."The employees of Northampton County are still at a disadvantage because of health care," James told Ken Kraft's Committee.
In addition to the corrections officers, James has hammered out agreements with the juvenile detention, court related, court appointed and residual bargaining units. Those are three-year deals as well. There will be a 5% wage hike effective July 1, 2015. In 2016 and 2017, employees will move up a step, with translates to about 4.5% per year. Employees who are already at the top step will get $1,750 lump sum payments in 2016 and 2017. Over three years, it is a 14% pay hike.
Though Council is expect to vote on the corrections officers' contract tomorrow night, a vote on the other four contracts will be delayed until later in July. Deputy Administrator Cathy Allen said the County needs that time to prepare the formal contracts. But she assured the Committee that the Administration will begin paying these raises with the first July paychecks.
How much will this cost the County this year? Executive John Brown told Council that all five contracts will cost about $550,000 more than what was budgeted for those specific positions. "The budget in 2015 will be able to absorb that," Brown assured Council.