ELYRIA TWP. – After several hours of negotiating last night into this morning, the Lorain County Jobs and Family Services bargaining team would not sign a contract that eliminated language about a spousal surcharge.
County Administrator Jim Cordes put out a statement this morning saying commissioners revised their offer to the 170 employees represented by the United Auto Workers Local 2192, who have been striking for going on three weeks, to eliminate “all aspects of the spousal surcharge” with hopes of ending the strike.
“In spite of exhaustive efforts, Local 2192 would not sign the proposed tentative agreement eliminating the sole issue that they identified as being the basis for the work stoppage,” Cordes said.
However, the bargaining committee did agree to bring the amended proposal back to its membership for consideration.
Kelly Fields, co-chair of the workers bargaining committee, did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Commissioners had sought a contract stating that if an employee’s spouse has insurance available through his or her employer, the spouse would be required to be on his or her employer’s plan while county employees and children would stay on the county plan. If the spouse doesn’t have access to employer insurance or makes less than $25,000, the spouse could stay on the county plan.
If the spouse wants to stay on the county plan and does not meet any of the criteria, commissioners want the county employee to pay a surcharge in addition to the plan’s base cost.
Workers have argued that this constitutes asking employees to sign “a blank check” because commissioners have not provided the amount of the surcharge.
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