Courtesy of kingcounty.gov

Courtesy of kingcounty.gov

King County approves bargaining agreement with 60 unions

Employees will receive wage increases and $500 bonus.

A bargaining agreement between more than 24 unions and King County was approved at Monday’s county council meeting, ensuring much of county’s workforce is operating under current terms through 2020.

The agreement was negotiated between representatives of the King County Executive’s office and the King County Coalition of Unions, which represents employees working in detention, law enforcement, public defense, the prosecutor’s office, public health, Metro, IT and parks, among others. In total, 61 collective bargaining agreements covering more than 5,500 employees across 17 agencies were approved.

As part of the agreement, all employees represented by the agreement will receive a general wage increase of 4 percent, which took effect at the beginning of 2019, and another 3 percent raise next year.

In addition, all employees will receive a $500 one-time payment. In total, the county will be paying nearly $50 million as part of the agreements, around $5.4 million over what was originally estimated. While the package was approved, King County Council member Kathy Lambert said she was concerned about the increased cost.

“I think that’s a lot of money. I have concerns about the $500 signing bonus or being their bonus,” she said at the meeting.

Corrections supervisors with a bachelor’s degree will additionally receive a 2 percent salary increase, and those with a master’s degree will receive a 3 percent increase. Wages for county employees are supposed to be tied to wages in the private sector, and the county conducts studies every two years to ensure they are, Lambert said. County executive Dow Constantine’s office issued a statement to the Reporter saying the agreement built on foundations established in the 2015-2016 total compensation agreement and the wage increases are consistent with cost of living projections in Puget Sound.

In total, King County has more than 100 labor organizations, and having a master labor agreement helps make bargaining more efficient, Lambert said.

“I’m just glad that they are doing this kind of agreement. Our labor people are very fair and even-handed. The focus that I am really impressed with is the focus on safety,” she said.

A statement sent to the Reporter from the executive’s office said they appreciated the relationship between the county and bargaining unions and that they believed “these agreements help us deliver the best customer service to the people of this region.”

Also included in the agreement was an agreement to create a task force to study options for child care benefit programs such as vouchers. The task force would consist of labor representatives and King County representatives. The report is due back by the end of 2019.

More in News

A high tide at Raymond’s Willapa Landing Park in Grays Harbor County, Washington. Sound Publishing file photo
On the West Coast, Washington is most prone to sea level rise damage

Report by the Center for Climate Integrity shows multibillion-dollar cost of battling back the sea.

File photo
Burning moratorium runs through Sept. 30

Annual burning ban rules outlined; contact info provided.

Encompass is among local nonprofit organizations that has received assistance from Issaquah’s Community Fund. Encompass provides opportunities for children such as early learning, pediatric therapy and family enrichment, according to its website. Courtesy photo
Community Fund program for Issaquah nonprofits open until June 28

Grant program provides financial support for upcoming projects.

Issaquah’s Salmon Days celebrates 50 years

Annual event also raises awareness of environmental impact on salmon.

Photo Provided by Naomi Parkman Sansome Facebook Page
Buckle up for another smoky summer

Wildfires in Washington will likely roar back this year and into the future.

Public hearing for 2020-2025 Capital Improvement Plan set for July 1

Issaquah has begun its update to the six-year Capital Improvement Plan for 2020-2025.

What’s next for Washington’s 2045 green energy goal?

The Legislature set the goal, but how does the state actually get there?

Tasting room proposal could redefine alcohol production in King County

Pilot program would benefit wineries, breweries and distilleries. Several farmers are concerned.

Courtesy photo
King County homelessness count shows 17 percent decrease overall

Decreases are not even among different demographics.

Most Read