Missoula County and the two unions responsible for the roads and bridges across the county have agreed to the terms of a three-year contract extension with an average pay increase of around 2.5%.
The two Teamsters unions, including the International Association of Machinists and the International Union of Operating Engineers, reached the agreement through collective bargaining with the county.
“This is the successor agreement,” said Chris Lounsbury, the county’s CAO. “We’ve had a collective agreement with the Teamsters, and this is a continuation of that agreement under new terms that have been negotiated.”
Under the agreement, the unions promised no work interruptions, shutdowns or strikes. If an unauthorized interruption did occur, the agreement calls for the union to join the county in requiring union members to return to work without delay.
The agreement also lays out seniority matters, probationary periods, discipline and hours of work. Employees are allowed one 15-minute rest break for every four hours of work and generally work 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday.
“We had planned to have this done in early October. But we had quite a few changes we proposed, and the unions had changes they proposed as well,” said Shane Stack, the county’s director of Public Works. “It took a while to get through that negotiation.”
Stack said the contract agreement also eliminated archaic language. One item required two operators in a plow in case there was no radio. All county plows now have radios, so that mandate was no longer necessary.
“Going through the contract itself, there were things in there that were probably a little archaic and were meant for a time frame of 30 years ago,” Stack said. “The benefit is, this a three-year contract so we don’t have to do negotiations for a few years. We covered quite a bit.”