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Borough, employees union reach tentative agreement on labor contract

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Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 11:33 pm | Updated: 12:07 pm, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — The Fairbanks North Star Borough and the recently unionized managerial employees have reached a tentative agreement after the first contract was rejected by the Borough Assembly.

Under the new agreement, which still needs to be approved by union members and the assembly, the borough’s managerial employees will no longer get retroactive pay increases to make up for previous pay freezes.

The agreement was reached Wednesday afternoon after a second round of mediations.

Instead of the retroactive pay increases, the 56 members of the union will be eligible for performance-based merit pay increases.

Alaska State Employee Association Business Manager Jim Duncan, who was involved in the negotiations, said he believes the new agreement will be acceptable but said it doesn’t entirely fix the problem that some managers are overseeing employees who are paid more than them.

“It doesn’t bring complete equity to our group, but I think we’ve found the best that we can do and we’ve found a proposal that will benefit our members,” he said. “While it doesn’t bring complete equity, I believe it’s a step forward and it’s a contract that should be ratified.”

Fairbanks North Star Borough Human Resources Manager Sallie Stuvek, who along with the law department are exempt from unions, said reaching a new contract was a relief after more than two months of contentious negotiations.

“These were extremely tough negotiations,” she said. “I think part of it was that very first contract, but it was a fair negotiation. It was difficult, but I think we came up with a good final product.”

Stuvek said the fiscal impact of the new agreement is being determined and will be announced when an ordinance is introduced to the assembly Oct. 13. The union is scheduled to decide on the contract Dec. 6.

Contact staff writer Matt Buxton at 459-7544 or follow him on Twitter: @FDNM

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