City of Harlan, union enter negotiations

    HARLAN – The City of Harlan and employees represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Iowa Council 61 exchanged initial bargaining proposals last week.
    After proposals were exchanged, the groups entered closed session for negotiations.
    The union, representing employees of the public works department and police department, is requesting a five-year agreement with 1.5 percent wage increases every six months (1.5 percent cost of living and then a 1.5 percent merit pay) beginning July 1, 2018 through January 1, 2023.  In addition, the employees are requesting a nickel increase in longevity pay at each level.
    A number of language changes also are proposed, as well as adding Martin Luther King or Presidents Day as a holiday, and requesting one additional floating holiday.  Union employees are proposing a language change in conversion of sick leave to be increased to three-quarters value from the current half value.
    The proposal requests that if the union agrees to a one percent increase in health insurance costs for both single and family plans for employees, that the city agrees to pay administrative fees.
    Also, the union requests a hike in clothing allowance for police officers  to be increased to $600 annually, and for non-police employees to $450 annually.  The union employees are requesting reimbursement for safety glasses with limits of $450 for regular glasses and $750 for glasses with safety lenses required.

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