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Commissioners condemn Patriot Coal

May 16, 2013
By ROBERT A. DEFRANK - Staff Writer , Times Leader

ST. CLAIRSVILLE - During their Wednesday meeting, Belmont County commissioners approved a motion condemning Patriot Coal, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal for corporate greed, noting that Peabody's spin-off of Patriot Coal endangers retiree pensions and health care through Patriot's bankruptcy action.

Arch Coal's endeavor to shed itself of promised health and retirement benefits was also condemned. Commissioners noted shifting Peabody and Arch's legacy costs onto Patriot Coal under the direction of former Peabody and Arch executives implicates all three corporations.

In other matters, commissioners added that the loss of promised health care and retirement benefits could drive local communities into financial crisis. The commissioners pledged support to the United Mine Workers of America.

Commissioners authorized Sanitary Sewer District Director Mark Esposito to offer employment for the positions of billing clerk and accounts payable clerk.

Commissioners appointed H. Kirk Glasgow to the Belmont-Harrison Juvenile District Board of Trustees for a two-year term effective March 31, 2013-March 30, 2015. Subsequently, this appointment will be for a five-year term as set forth in the statue which calls for staggered terms.

Commissioners adopted a resolution requesting the director of the Ohio Department of Transportation to modify the present speed limit on Belmont 4, or Colerain Pike, from 55 to 40 miles per hour. As a result of a petition by Colerain residents, the engineer ordered speed survey.

Among the actions approved by commissioners were:

The management rights, grievance and arbitration, dues deduction, non-discrimination, etc., and fringe benefit provisions largely mirror existing labor contract for the other bargaining unit at the agency, or in the case of some issues such as the disposition of sick leave at retirement, the commissioners' policy. Current employees would receive a step increase that has been held in abeyance since Jan. 19, 2013. The employees anticipated a step increase on or about that date when they were hired during the transition from BSS in return for continued, orderly service to Belmont County seniors, but the amount was discussed in negotiations. The step amount will be 50 cents per hour.

For annual increases for current non-probationary employees, the parties agreed on 30 cents per pay period including March 31, 2013, 50 cents per pay period including March 31, 2014, and 50 cents per pay period including March 31, 2015.

New employees will start at the beginning rates for their classifications and progress.

Provision is made for standardizing insurance offered to full-time bargaining unit employees as the commissioners adapt to federal health care reforms.

When the commissioners fix the date for the abolishment of Senior Services positions at DJFS to transfer to a new department, the bargaining unit employees and their wages, hours, conditions of employment and labor contract would transfer.

In another tentative agreement, the management rights, grievance and arbitration, dues deduction, non-discrimination, etc., and fringe benefit provisions mirror the commissioners policy as adapted to a labor contract.

Current less senior employees would be paid on a scale based on classification and steps assigned with equity based on relative tenure.

Annual increases in that scale would then be 2 percent for the pay periods including March 1, 2013, March 11, 2014, and March 1, 2015. New employees will start at beginning rates. Current employees not on the scale would receive 3 percent per year.

Provision is made for standardizing insurance offered to full-time bargaining unit employees as the commissioners adapt to federal health care reforms.

Provision is made for a health and safety advisory committee to make recommendations as technology advances.

Commissioners have 30 days to reject the tentative agreements.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com.

 
 

 

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