Sarasota News Leader

02/28/2014

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One of the county's union contracts may soon be ratified, but another round of negotiations could be right around the corner. After more than two years of negotiations, the members of Local 173 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters voted two weeks ago to accept a collective bargaining agree- ment offered by the S a r a s o t a C o u n t y Commission at a pub- lic hearing last month. The union represents around 400 county employees — parks workers, truck techni- cians, lifeguards and more — whose wages have been frozen since October 2009. The employees have been working without an agreement since September 2011. Their average hourly wage is $17, and, according to Elliot Zahalsky, a lawyer representing the Teamsters, the workers have lost 16.9 percent of their buying power since their last raise. The union had asked t h e c o u n t y f o r a $1,500 lump sum pay- ment, plus 3 percent wage increases for fiscal years 2013 and County lifeguards are members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. File photo AFTER TWO-PLUS YEARS OF NEGOTIATIONS, TEAMSTERS APPROVE CONTRACT WITH SARASOTA COUNTY DEAL ALMOST SEALED We felt we didn't make any progress till the board actually dealt with us in person. Mike McElmury Representative Teamsters International By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor

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