The members of Local 173
(Polk County) made some strong economic gains in a recently settled wage opener
in their contract.
Council 75 Staff
Representative Justin St. James says local union unity played a key role in
successfully bargaining cost-of-living adjustments and other enhancements for
"The local turned out in
great numbers throughout the bargaining process to help the bargaining team
know how they felt," said St. James. "That display of unity helped move the
"For example, the county
told us that increasing salaries for office specialists was off the table at
the beginning of bargaining, but we won a two-step increase for all of them,"
St. James noted. "And having a county-wide COLA again after no increase in the contract's
first year will help our members deal with the rising price of gas, food, and
Economic highlights of the
- Members with step increases get to keep them,
which was in doubt at the beginning of bargaining.
- The following classifications were increased by
either one or two steps, with steps being worth 4 percent —
Accounting Technician (2 steps), Appraiser (1 step), Juvenile
Administrative Specialist (2), Medical Assistant (1), Medical Clerk (1),
Nurse Practitioner (2), Office Specialist (2), Public Health
Administrative Specialist (1), Public Works Assistant (1) and WIC
The wage opener agreement is
for the period running through June 30, 2013. The full contract runs through
June 30, 2014. In addition to St. James, the bargaining team included Local 173
President Dustin Breitwieser, Treasurer Wendi Hamilton and Esther Hildebrandt.