Images of Kitsap County
Public Communications (MS-11)
614 Division Street, Port Orchard, WA
Phone: 360.337.4598
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: March 12, 2013
Contact:

Deborah A. Boe, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
dboe@co.kitsap.wa.us or 360.337.4871

No: 2013-017

Agreement reached in Sheriff's Guild contract negotiations

(Port Orchard) - Kitsap County announces that collective bargaining between the Kitsap County Deputy Sheriffs Guild and Kitsap County has concluded with the issuance of an interest arbitration award. The award, dated February 27, affects approximately 115 deputy sheriffs employed by the Kitsap County Sheriff. Interest arbitration is a statutory process whereby the parties submit disputes over wages, benefits, and working conditions to an arbitration panel consisting of a neutral and two partisan arbitrators.

The collective bargaining agreement between Kitsap County and the Deputy Sheriffs Guild expired in 2009. Unable to reach agreement for a successor contract, unresolved issues were “tried” before an arbitration panel in October 2012. The award provides no wage increases in 2010 or 2011, but includes a 2 percent wage increase effective January 2012 and another 1/2 percent increase effective July 2012. The award includes an increase in the contributions deputy sheriffs’ make toward health insurance.

The decision, authored by the neutral arbitrator, is final and binding. The arbitrator placed significant weight on the state of the County’s finances in 2010 and 2011, explaining that “those years were marked not only by hiring freezes and eliminations of vacant positions, but by successive layoffs of current employees and by reductions in working hours for those who remained.” The arbitrator acknowledged that elected officials did not escape the fiscal impact: The County rescinded a scheduled 2010 2% increase and allowed elected officials to self-pay the County’s part of their insurance costs. Elected official pay rates remained frozen through 2012.

While most other county bargaining units agreed to wage freezes for 2010 through 2012, deputy sheriffs sought retroactive wage increases of 2 percent in 2010, 1.3 percent in 2011, and 3.0 percent increase in 2012. The arbitrator agreed with the County’s proposed pay rate freeze for 2010 and 2011, reasoning that pay increases “for Deputies for a period when their co-workers were suffering reduced hours and the County was reducing its level of services and eliminating programs” were not justified. Ultimately, the arbitrator gave the deputies 2% for 2012 and a half percent beginning July 1, 2012.

The Deputy Sheriff’s proposal if awarded in full would have cost the County about 1.6 million, the award will cost the County $170,000 in 2012.

The County had been paying 100 percent of employee-only premiums and 90 percent dependent premiums. The arbitrator recognized that “100 percent paid premiums for health benefit plans are no longer standard nor are they sustainable.” Effective July 2012, deputy sheriffs must contribute 3 percent toward the cost of employee-only premiums and 15 percent of the cost of dependent premiums.

The panel also rejected deputy sheriffs’ demand for education premiums, shift differential pay, and increases in premium holiday pay.

The award is applicable for wages and working conditions through 2012. The County and union representing deputy sheriffs will return to the bargaining table to negotiate a contract for wages in 2013 and beyond.

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Kitsap 1
(360) 337-5777
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Last Updated:  May 27, 2014