Over 160 Becker County Employees Vote to Strike
On Wednesday, February 19, Becker County Employees Voted to Reject the County’s Final Contract Offer and to Engage in a Work Stoppage
(For Immediate Release 02/20/2020)
Detroit Lakes, Minn. -
Teamsters Local 320 members and employees of the Becker County Human Services Department and the Becker County Courthouse representing over 160 workers voted to reject the final contract offers from their employer.
The vote from both groups to reject the employer’s final offer was by 88 percent (88%) and 87 percent (87%) respectively. The two groups have separate collective bargaining labor contracts but voted down the final offer based on the same issues.
The central issues are fairness in wages and major health insurance disparities between part-time and full-time employees.
The County’s final offer to employees is 2.25 percent (2.25%) in the first year, and 2.5 percent (2.5%) in the second year of the proposed agreement. Becker County Commissioners voted themselves salary increases higher than rank-and-file employees received in 2019 -- the last year of the expired labor contract. The Commissioners have voted to increase their salaries over and above their employees again in 2020.
During negotiations with the County, employees requested an increase to the employer’s contribution towards health insurance costs, which has not changed in an entire decade.
The employees also requested the County to provide health insurance for part-time employees who work 28 hours or less, and don’t qualify for employer-provided health insurance. Becker County has increasingly relied on part-time employees to serve in county government.
The employer rejected the proposal for part-time insurance benefits outright. Yet, Becker County Commissioners continue to receive County-provided health insurance for their part-time work.
“We have informed both Becker County administration and the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services (MNBMS) in St. Paul that we are preparing to engage in a work stoppage,” says Brian Aldes, Teamsters Local 320 Secretary Treasurer and Principal Officer. “The MNBMS will provide us with the proper instructions and timeline to engage in a legal strike action against the County.”
Contact: Brian Aldes