The Winona Post (Minnesota), reports on a recent interest arbitration decision involving a dispute with the Winona Assistant County Attorneys. Prosecutors Win Labor Dispute (Nov. 30, 2016). Below is a brief summary.
With one exception, all Winona County, Minnesota, public sector unions have collective bargaining agreements that require their members to pay a share of their health insurance premiums. This has been the trend in public employee collective bargaining agreements nationwide over the past several years. However, the seven member Winona Assistant County Attorneys Union’s collective bargaining agreement with the County does not require its members to pay any share of their health insurance premiums.
In the most recent round of contract negotiations with this Union, the County sought to add a health insurance premium sharing provision. The parties were unable to reach agreement on this and several other terms, resulting in an impasse, and they proceeded to binding interest arbitration.
The interest arbitrator ruled that in order to prevail on this issue, the County had to negotiate something in return, or prove that it absolutely could not afford to pay 100% of the health insurance premiums of these seven employees. The interest arbitrator found that the County had done neither. Therefore, the arbitrator did not insert a health insurance premium sharing provision in the successor collective bargaining agreement.