South Slope, Union Reach Agreement

By George C. Ford, The Gazette

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa — The Communications Workers of America and South Slope Cooperative Communications in North Liberty have reached an agreement to settle all outstanding charges.

Charges filed by the union with the National Labor Relations Board against South Slope arising from recent contract negotiations were scheduled for hearing on May 7. Before the hearing, the parties agreed to a mutually acceptable settlement.

Talks continued after the agreement was signed to explore options to mend management and employee relations, improve employee morale, and rebuild trust.

“Upon reaching agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, the members of CWA decided it was time to look forward and resolve all outstanding issues,” said Kay Pence, CWA’s staff representative and chief contract negotiator in a statement. “We are pleased to have reached a mutually acceptable settlement of all outstanding charges.”

Justyn Miller, South Slope CEO, said the matter has been a difficult situation for all involved.

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement agreement and look forward to working together in the future,” Miller said.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

In mid-March, South Slope Communications and the Communications Workers of America announced that a new contract had been approved by members of the union. The agreement included a 1 percent wage increase, added flexibility, increased job security, improved vacation time and a fully funded pension.

Miller said the contract also included concessions by both parties.

CWA members initially rejected South Slope’s contract offer Nov. 3, 2013. With the assistance of a federal mediator, minor modifications were made to the contract and it was presented to the union membership for another vote in mid-November, which brought the same result.

South Slope imposed the terms of what it termed its last, best offer to the CWA. The union filed charges against South Slope with the National Labor Relations Board for bad faith bargaining and what it claimed was the unwarranted suspension of a union supporter.

l Comments: (319) 398-8366; george.ford@sourcemedia.net

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