By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Employees of the Belknap County Sheriff's Department voted unanimously Monday to switch to the Teamsters Union to represent them in contract negotiations.
The department had been represented in negotiations by the State Employees Association, which still represents workers in the Belknap County Nursing Home and the Belknap County House of Corrections.
Convention Chairman Dave DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) said that all 10 members of the department who were eligible to vote favored the change. There are five additional employees in the department who have yet to complete their probationary period and were ineligible to vote but who will be represented by the union once their probationary period is completed.
Some of the unionized employees of the Belknap County House of Corrections voted Tuesday on a proposed contract with the county which would provide them with their first pay raise in four years. But voting won't be completed until Thursday, according to DeVoy.
DeVoy did not reveal details of the proposed contract but said that he is very hopeful that the contract will win approval of union members so that commissioners can bring it before the Belknap County Delegation in the near future.
When they met two weeks ago commissioners discussed what they called a "consensus agreement with corrections employees" which was described as cost-neutral and said that it was similar to the collective bargaining agreement between Teamsters Local 633 and the county which was approved by a 10-5 vote by the County Delegation last August.
The contract which was approved last August with the Teamsters, who represent 23 mid-level managers in several county departments, provided a 1.4 percent pay raise as well as step increases, which increased total compensation by 4.4 percent for eligible workers.
It also provided for health insurance changes from an HMO plan to a "site of service" plan which provides for $1,000, $2,000 and $3,000 deductibles on single, two-person and family plans for which the county now pays the entire bill. Currently employees pays 5 to 6.5 percent of the premiums for the HMO plan.
DeVoy said in August that the change reduced the amount the county pays for the current HMO plan by as much as $4,000 per employee.
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