The negotiations went sour in the summer of 2014 when the wage divide was about a $1 million difference between what the workers wanted and what the county said it could afford. The lump-sum $500/$550 payment the county offered would have cost $213,000 extra. A fact-finder recommended 1.5/1.75/2 percent pay bump, plus cost of living steps, which had an additional price tag of $1.3 million.
All dressed in royal blue T-shirts carrying signs with messages like “We stand up to bullies” and “Honk for change in Butler County,” about 40 workers began picketing outside Children Services offices on Fair Avenue the morning of Aug. 18. Three weeks later, clad in “mourning black,” the case workers returned to work without a contract. Seven months after that, a new deal was sealed.
MORE: Social workers return to work without a contract
In exchange for the workers acquiescence to merit pay, the county agreed to a 2 percent increase to the minimum and maximum salaries on their pay ranges. Workers were awarded 1 percent to 3 percent pay raises based on performance.
Union chief Becky Palmer could not be reached for comment this morning by the Journal-News.
County officials announced this week finances are looking bleak for 2018 so the two percent, lump-sum incentive pay non-union employees received on top of an increase to their base this year might not be available.