첥Ƶ

Skip to content

SUBSCRIBER ONLY

Local 첥Ƶ |
Northampton County human services workers ratify new labor deal

SEIU workers are shown protesting in 2018. Union workers with SEIU Local 668., who represent about 120 Northampton County Human Services workers, have ratified a new three-year labor contract Friday, June 21, 2024, according to county Executive Lamont McClure. (Rick Kintzel/첥Ƶ file photo)
SEIU workers are shown protesting in 2018. Union workers with SEIU Local 668., who represent about 120 Northampton County Human Services workers, have ratified a new three-year labor contract Friday, June 21, 2024, according to county Executive Lamont McClure. (Rick Kintzel/첥Ƶ file photo)
Author
UPDATED:

Northampton County Human Services have ratified a new three-year labor contract, averting a possible strike,

Some 80% of workers cast ballots in favor of the contract, said Kezzy Johnson, a Human Services worker and shop steward with SEIU Local 668.  A total of 120 union workers had planned to strike Friday over issues including salaries, recruitment and retention of workers.

But county Executive Lamont G. McClure first reported Friday afternoon that a deal was ratified.

The new pact includes 5% cost-of-living raises each year, McClure said, along with increased health care payouts of 0.25% for those employees on HSA accounts, and 0.5% for those enrolled in a PPO plan.

“We are glad that they ratified the contract,” McClure said, adding workers voted Thursday and Friday on the proposal. “It was more than fair.”

The union had opposed the health care increases as well as the county’s move for one-time bonuses instead of more permanent wage hikes, Johnson said.

Workers voted May 23 for the union to strike, according to Johnson, following months of negotiations. Johnson publicly pleaded as recently as County Council’s June 6 meeting for the new contract and better efforts in avoiding employee turnover. The union workers also delivered a petition in April asking council to help get the county to return to the bargaining table toward a deal that satisfies workers, many of whom are with the county’s Children, Youth and Families division.

“We still have a lot more work to do to get wages up to where we will be 100% competitive with other agencies,” Johnson said.  “We believe that this is a start to getting more recruits and keeping our workers here.”

McClure said he was pleased that employees “will continue working to keep our children and seniors safe without interruption,” he said.

The union represents employees who deal with some of Human Services’ most critical agencies, including Children, Youth and Family Services, and the Area Agency on Aging. Besides social workers, the employees serve as clerical workers, case aides and in other roles.

The county’s unions encompass 10 labor agreements representing an unspecified number of its 1,700 employees.

Morning 첥Ƶ reporter Anthony Salamone can be reached at asalamone@mcall.com.

Originally Published:

More in Local 첥Ƶ