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Lakehaven, union reach new contract

The Mirror

Lakehaven Utility District has reached a contract settlement with its technical and clerical employees.

The district's commissioners and members of Washington State Council of County and City Employees ratified the agreement Jan. 12. It includes cost-of-living increases and a 2.3 percent pay raise for employees who aren't at the top of their wage scale, according to the district. It also preserves holiday and leave benefits.

In addition, the district said it will continue to pay 90 percent of the medical and dental coverage for employees and their families and will contribute $10 each month to a medical savings account for each employee.

The union is affiliated with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Contract negotiations began in the second half of 2005 to replace the prior agreement, which expired in the fall.

Commissioner Bev Tweddle said both sides had "a realistic idea of what would be a fair package of wage increases and benefits.”

In a press release issued Tuesday by Lakehaven, Diana Prenguber, business representative for Council 2 of the union, said "honest and professional" negotiations preserved "the positive working environment" for the employees.

Contract talks are continuing between the district and a second group of its employees who are represented by International Union of Operating Engineers. The workers, who run Lakehaven's wastewater treatment plants, rejected contract offer last summer and again in October. A state mediator from the Public Employment Relations Commission is participating in the negotiations.

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