Tuesday, July 18, 2000

Judge puts Butler County union contract on hold, will rule on request to cancel it




By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — The Butler County commissioners have won another round in their fight to void a union contract negotiated by County Engineer Dean Foster.

        Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth issued a preliminary injunction Monday prohibiting Mr. Foster and Auditor Kay Rogers from implementing the contract while he decides how to rule on the commissioners' motion to cancel the contract.

        The judge had previously issued a two-week hold on the contract.

        Teamsters Local 100 represents 50 employees in the engineer's office.

        Susan Jansen, attorney for Teamsters Local 100, argued in court that the commissioners failed to take ample opportunity to review all provisions of the proposed contract.

        The commissioners approved last month a fact-finder's recommendation on wages.

        Ms. Jansen said that action negates the commissioners' right to ratify other issues of the contract.

        Doug Duckett, the county's labor attorney and personnel director, said Mr. Foster ignored the commissioners' requests for all provisions of the proposed contract.

        The economic issues not included in the fact-finder's report must still be submitted to commissioners for ratification, he said.

        Ms. Rogers has taken no posi tion in the dispute.

        Judge Spaeth said he is placing a temporary hold on the contract because he doesn't want to make the county pay for the contract while he decides whether it is valid.

        He said he also doesn't want to put union members into the uncomfortable position of having to pay back benefits to the county if the final ruling negates the contract.

        The commissioners say the proposed contract contains extraordinary benefits that they would not have approved.

        The union and the engineer's office say the contract was negotiated in good faith and is valid.

       



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