Stacy employees vote to authorize collective bargaining under AFSCME

By Anne Thom—

At its meeting last Tuesday, the Stacy City council finally spoke publically on the union organizing petition. A vote of Stacy’s public employees resulted in Stacy Wine and Spirits employees voting in favor of bringing in AFSCME Council 5 to represent all part-time off-sale employees. The next step will be negotiating a union contract with AFSCME and those employees. Councilor Chuck Lucia said, “We’re negotiating for two people?”

According to Minnesota state statutes, this is correct.

The council questioned proceeding with a wage increase, promised to other city employees, that had been on hold pending the negotiation of the union contract.

The mayor felt that the city should go ahead and address the union employees when a contract is negotiated, but issue the increase to the other employees right now.

Lucia said the union contract should be negotiated first. If there is a wage difference, the non-union employees would not make an issue of it or vice versa.

Utecht said all he is interested in is that city employees remain happy in their jobs.

Councilor Jim Ness said he didn’t feel it was fair to the non-union employees to hold up increases.

Mayor Utecht made a motion to go ahead with the 3-percent increases for the non-union employees.

This motion stalled and a recess was called as Grundhoefer and Clerk Sharon Payne penned a new motion properly worded to offer a raise to non-union employees effective Jan. 1, 2012.

That motion passed with Lucia abstaining, until he was advised he could not abstain. Lucia changed his vote to “no” and the motion still carried.

Two councilmembers and the city attorney will comprise the union bargaining committee.

Councilor Lucia, a former union member, and Mayor Utecht, a former manager with union experience, were appointed.

Councilor Cindy Bruss was advised that other councilors may not attend the committee meetings as they are not open to the public, including council members who simply want to hear what is going on.

A motion was made and the plan was approved.

On a happier note, the mayor proposed a potluck for city staff to be held later in the year. Grundhoefer saw no issue with the decision, and a motion was made for a “Stacy Christmas party” to be held on Dec. 18, 2012.

“Call it a mixer if you want,” Utecht said and the motion to hold the party passed.

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