Arbitration brings contract award for county’s detention deputies

A binding arbitration award has been approved by the Anoka County Board for a contract with the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office detention deputies bargaining unit.

Unresolved issues were submitted to arbitrator John Remington of the Bureau of Mediation Services following an impasse in negotiations between the county and Law Enforcement Labor Services, representing the detention deputies.

The issues were contract length, general pay increases and performance based increases.

According to Scott Lepak, the county’s labor negotiator from the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen Ltd., the arbitrator sided with the union in deciding on a two-year contract length, 2012 and 2013, while the county proposed a one-year contract for calendar year 2012.

The arbitrator primarily based his decision on the fact that a longer duration would encourage more stable labor relations, Lepak wrote in a report to the board.

On general pay increases for the two years of the contract, Remington split his decision between the county’s position of no general increase for either year and the union’s request for a 1.5 percent each year.

The union will get its 1.5 percent wage increase in 2012, but no general increase in 2013, Lepak told the board in his memo.

According to Remington’s rationale, while county non union employees did not receive any increase for 2012, two unions groups with settlements did get an increase.

The cost of living slightly favored the union position, Remington stated in his arbitration award document.

The county’s position that there be no performance based pay increases in either year was upheld by the arbitrator.

The union had sought performance or merit-based increases of 1.5 percent in each year.

According to Lepak, the arbitrator indicated that the fact that no other employee groups, including non-union employees, got any increase supported the county’s position in order to keep internal equity.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]