Montgomery Council Indicates Support for Modified Union Contract

The Montgomery County Council, by a vote of 7-2, today adopted a resolution indicating its intent to approve the renegotiated collectively bargained contracts with the Municipal and County Government Employees’ Organization (MCGEO) and to fund the compensation and benefits provided in the agreements renegotiated by County Executive Marc Elrich for FY 2020.

At its April 30 meeting on compensation and benefits for all agencies, the Council deferred a final decision on pay adjustments for County Government non-represented employees. The Council indicated its general support for equity in pay adjustments for non-represented employees with other employee groups, consistent with long-standing county practice.

According to a press release:

The 3.5 percent additional service increment that was not funded by the Council in FY11 would instead be funded at 1 percent payable after January 1, 2020. Although the County Executive agreed to phase in the remainder of the 3.5 percent additional service increment in FY21 and FY22, the Council approves the operating budget for one year only.

The original agreement would have provided a 2.4 percent general wage adjustment beginning in November 2019. The renegotiated agreement would provide for a 2.25 percent general wage adjustment beginning in December 2019. The original agreement would have provided a $1,200 lump sum for employees who are not eligible for any service increment. The renegotiated agreement reduced the lump sum to $1,000.

In a statement, Council President Nancy Navarro said the resolution strikes a “fair balance.”

It’s important for me on behalf of the Council to express my appreciation for the willingness of MCGEO representatives to go back and take a look at repositioning this particular agreement. I think that this strikes a fair balance, and the bottom line is that our workers are the ones who day in and day out provide the services that we rely upon so much.

This particular renegotiation is something we can afford while we continue to work on the other elements that are affecting our budgets year after year.

At the same time, the Council continued to emphasize the importance of the necessary steps that need to be taken to reduce compensation costs over the long term. Some of the options include:

  • Formalizing a structure for the annual review of compensation cost sustainability and providing that information to County Executive Elrich to be used in the collective bargaining process
  • Evaluating changes that could be made to the County laws that govern the collective bargaining process
  • Exploring cost savings by reviewing the benefit costs across all agencies
  • Reducing the size of the County’s workforce

Employee compensation makes up 80 percent of all agency operating expenditures for the four County-funded agencies—Montgomery County Government, Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, and the Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission.

The Council will make its final vote on compensation and benefits for the final FY 2020 budget on May 23.

Staff reports covering the renegotiated provisions in the collective bargaining agreements for MCGEO and compensation costs can be found here.