Maintenance workers won't get a raise


Maintenance workers in Anne Arundel County schools won't get a pay raise but will keep their top-of-the-line health insurance program under a contract proposal ratified by the school board this week.

Local 1693 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) became the first of three school employee unions to settle with the board on a contract. The board ratified the contract at its meeting Wednesday; a formal union vote will be conducted at the union's next meeting.

The Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County is awaiting a decision from an arbitrator who was called in when the two sides reached impasse. The third union, the Secretaries and Assistants Association of Anne Arundel County, voted to reject the board's offer.

Jim Pickens, president of AFSCME LOCAL 1693, which represents the maintenance workers, said the union has not formally voted on it, but has accepted the agreement in principle. "We have to pay $70 more a month for the Blue Cross Blue Shield family plan, but we get to keep the traditional plan as a health option," Mr. Pickens said. "There's still a chance the teachers might end up with a cost-of-living raise, but we've got a parity clause in our contract, and if they get a raise, by golly, we'll get a raise."

AFSCME also won approval for the union president to be granted a paid leave of absence, with benefits, during his term.

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