King County deputies voting on pay concession
After months of refusal by the union representing King County sheriff's deputies to consider a wage freeze next year, deputies are voting on a proposal to reduce the amount of a negotiated increase in pay.
Seattle Times staff reporter
After months of refusal by the union representing King County sheriff's deputies to consider a wage freeze next year, deputies are voting on a proposal to reduce their upcoming pay increase.
The mail balloting by some 700 deputies was authorized at a recent membership meeting and votes will be counted at the end of the week, Chris Vick, attorney for the King County Police Officers Guild, said Monday.
Frank Abe, spokesman for County Executive Dow Constantine, said he doesn't know how the county will respond to the proposal, which was written by the deputies union.
"We're pleased that they're willing to reassess their situation and we're waiting to hear their proposal," Abe said.
Until now, the guild has refused to accept Constantine's request that it give up a previously negotiated 5 percent pay increase to save deputies' jobs and maintain police services outside cities.
The guild proposal would reduce next year's pay increase to 3 percent, followed by a 5 percent increase in 2012 as previously negotiated. It would add a year to deputies' contract, with a 2 percent raise in 2013.
The wage concession is contingent on the county laying off no deputies in 2011.
If deputies reduced their pay hike by 2 percentage points, as proposed, that would be comparable to other labor unions giving up their previously guaranteed 2 percent cost-of-living adjustments, Vick said.
Sheriff Sue Rahr said last month that cuts to her department's budget would force her to lay off 18 deputies, keep 40 vacant positions unfilled, and end most investigations of burglaries, car prowls, auto thefts and fraud.
The Police Officers Guild, the only large union to reject Constantine's request for a pay freeze, claimed in a full-page ad in The Seattle Times last month the county had adequate revenue to maintain the sheriff's budget but refused to do so.
Ninety-one percent of unionized workers agreed to a pay freeze, and wages of nonunion workers have been frozen, according to Constantine's office.
Constantine and the Metropolitan King County Council declined to use savings generated by other workers' wage concessions to save the jobs of sheriff's deputies.
Instead, county officials used the savings to maintain jobs in the work groups that agreed to wage concessions.
Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or email@example.com
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