Arbitration Award Goes in Favor of Lackawana County Correctional Employees
An arbitration panel has issued an award stipulating double-digit raises and other benefits for employees of Lackawana County Correctional facilities and probation officers. The decision also requires them to contribute much more to their health plans, however.
The corrections unions collectively represent about 218 guards and other employees. The arbitration award grants raises equaling about 16% over the next five years, plus additional “equity” raises in order to adjust existing salaries consistently. However, the unions’ members will also see their health care premiums increase significantly for both individual and family coverage.
The unions describe the decision as a “fair deal.” The county’s sole comment was to confirm that the amount in the raises is within the county’s “buffer” budget set aside for such a possibility.
In a separate arbitration, unions representing the county’s 64 probation workers gained a 2.5% wage increase for each of the next four years, a 10% total increase, plus similar “equity” raises and similar health care contribution increases that will be significant. The unions, however, were satisfied with the new compensation and health care arrangement, which they feel is equitable.
Lackawanna County is still awaiting results of contract negotiations with unions representing public defenders, office employees, deputy sheriffs, and family service workers. There is no indication how those negotiations are going or if the county is concerned about the increased wages overwhelming its reserves, or how it plans to continue paying the higher wages without an increase in taxes.