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County board, health unit reach agreement

ELLSWORTH -- The Pierce County Board of Supervisors reached its first agreement with one of six labor unions Feb. 1.

The board unanimously approved the collective bargaining agreement with the Labor Association of Wisconsin (L.A.W.) -- Community Health Association (CHA). The agreement begins Jan. 1 and expires Dec. 31, 2012.

CHA is made up of 16 members and consists of public health personnel.

"We truly felt negotiations took place," said CHA representative Dianne H-Robinson, who made up the negotiation team, along with Sara Sabelko and Michelle Williams.

Robinson also noted the negotiation sessions, which lasted about three months, were one of the shortest she's ever been a part of.

Highlights of the agreement include:

  • A 1.25% wage increase, effective Jan. 1, of both 2011 and 2012.
  • Employees who have put in more than 25 years of service will now get 25 days paid vacation.
  • Employees may use up to five days per year of sick leave for attendance upon parent or in-law who are sick.
  • Employees may use up to one day per year from sick leave to attend funeral of a close friend or relative not in the immediate family.
  • Employees will now be contributing five percent more toward health insurance rates.

    As for the other unions, arbitration has been scheduled later with courthouse, highway, human service and human service teamsters, while law enforcement is headed toward mediation. Official dates have yet to be announced.

    In other action, the County Board:

  • Recognized Dawn Wood for her 26 years of service to the county. Wood spent most of her tenure working in the Books-By-Mail program, as she was the clerk and assistant to the county librarian.

    The program consisted of providing books by mail service to rural residents and others who were unable to get to a county library. She was also praised for converting every one of the 15,000 books from paper records to computer software twice during her tenure. Wood left in December.

    The Finance and Personnel Committee voted earlier last month to discontinue the program and not refill Wood's position. As for funds previously allocated to the program, the committee will discuss that at a later time.

  • Approved the purchase of a 2011 Tymco sweeper truck for $151,265. This replaces a 1996 model which Highway Commissioner Chad Johnson said had severe wear within the sweeper body.
  • The sheriff's department reported the dispatch received 29,270 calls in 2010, an average of about 80 per day.

In other departmental reports, the district attorney's office reported the total number of cases from law enforcement and human services were down from 2009 to 2010; however, the number of felony cases increased. The Birth-to-Three program received state notification it met federal indicators. The Material Recovery Facility stated it established a new yearly record high for incoming recyclable material tons.

The board also appointed Tom Gunderson to the Indianhead Federated Library Board until Dec. 31, 2013.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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