Westmoreland County union workers reject proposed new contract
Members of Westmoreland County’s largest bargaining unit rejected the terms of a new labor contract for more than 600 government workers.
The county’s existing four-year contract with the Service Employees International Union Local 668 and SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania expires at the end of December. Negotiations on a new labor pact have been ongoing since August.
Union officials notified county negotiators on Monday that rank and file members had voted down the proposed new collective bargaining agreement.
Union negotiators last week agreed to a new deal that included annual pay hikes for its more than 640 members that include courthouse workers, 911 dispatchers, parks crews, road workers and nurses and other staffers at Westmoreland Manor, the county’s nursing home.
“We’ll go back to the table and meet with them again. We will continue to try to work out an agreement through the end of the year,” said Amanda Bernard, the county’s director of human relations.
SEIU representatives did not return calls seeking comment.
Previous negotiations with the SEIU saw union members reject deals agreed to by the union’s negotiating team. Union members in 2016 twice voted down deals reached by their representatives before the current four-year deal was ratified nearly 12 months after the expiration of its previous contract.
The union represents more than a third of the county’s workforce but its membership has fallen off in recent years. The union counted about 900 members when it’s previous contract was last negotiated. Westmoreland County employs nearly 1,900 workers.
Retiring county Commissioner Charles Anderson said he wants to have a deal in place before he leaves office at the end of the year.
“I’d like to get it done as soon as possible. I don’t want to string this along,” Anderson said.
Commissioners Gina Cerilli and Ted Kopas did not return calls seeking comment.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .