Greene Co. Board May Call In Arbitrator For Union Negotiations

By Benjamin Cox on November 15, 2021 at 6:00am

The Greene County Board may be pursuing an arbitrator in the near future to help with local union negotiations.

The Greene Prairie Press reports that a special county personnel meeting was called on Monday afternoon to discuss courthouse and highway department personnel who have been working without a contract since January. A proposed contract was accepted by the local Steelworkers Union earlier this Fall but the Greene County Board has voted down the contract twice.

In a phone conversation with WLDS News, Board Chairman Mark Strang says he discussed bringing in an arbitrator from an outside firm to clear up communication issues and negotiations. Strang told WLDS he didn’t have an idea of costs and didn’t pursue the matter much further than having a discussion with Greene County State’s Attorney Caleb Briscoe.

Strang says discussions about costs and whether or not the firm Briscoe has suggested will be covered in executive, closed session.

Hiring the firm appears to be a point of contention with the board, along with the contract negotiations. Board members Andrea Schnelten and Chris Elliott asked during the meeting on Monday according to the Greene Prairie Press on why Strang or the other board members would want to hire an outside firm and pay them for something that both Schnelten and Elliott had negotiated with the union members.

The sticking point in the contract appears to be a 40-hour work week clause that would allegedly cost the county more money in salary.

Strang declined to comment further to WLDS about the nature of the negotiations of the contract or about bringing in the outside arbitrator.