Havre Daily News
Havre public works employees and city officials returned to the table Tuesday night to iron out differences over a tentative agreement union members had rejected because they said it did not match what had been negotiated.
On Mon-day, the full Havre City Council will consider the agreement, council member and Labor Relations Committee chair Terry Schend said after the meeting. If it is approved, it will go back to the union membership for ratification, he said.
The City Council will also consider a tentative agreement with the firefighters union, Schend said. The city has not heard back from the police union, which is expected to vote on a tentative agreement, he added.
Tuesday's meeting did not reopen negotiations, a union representative said. Rather, union members and city officials met to figure out exactly what each side meant when they arrived at the tentative agreement.
"Our intent was to establish the City Council's position and the union's position," American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees representative Pete Parsons said during the meeting.
Members of AFSCME Local 336 voiced concerns over the agreement after Schend told former union president Darren Johnson in a telephone call that Mayor Bob Rice wanted to change one of the provisions. They also said one of the items they had negotiated was left out of the agreement.
The union had proposed that the city increase the earnings of an assistant meter reader and two truck operators by a full pay grade. The city's proposed contract had included pay increases for the truck operators but not for the assistant meter reader.
Schend said at the time that raising the assistant meter reader's pay would create a new position in the public works department, something Schend said the City Council doesn't have the power to do.
Union and city representatives agreed Tuesday night that the intent of the proposal was to give the city worker who reads meters part time a pay raise when he is performing those duties.
The union had also proposed to change stand-in supervisor pay. Under the current contract, a supervisor must be gone for at least 40 hours before a stand-in can be appointed by management and begin receiving extra pay, city public works director Dave Peterson said.
The union had proposed reducing that number to eight hours. The city had agreed to that but the proposal was left out of the tentative agreement.
Labor Relations Committee members agreed that the proposal had been left out of the agreement by mistake.