MOUNT DESERT, Maine — The Teamsters union, which represents 17 of the town’s public works employees, has indicated it has filed a complaint against the town with the Maine Labor Relations Board.
Joe Piccone, business agent for Teamsters Local No. 340, wrote this week in an email that the union filed a prohibited practices complaint against Mount Desert because it believes “the town negotiated in bad faith and continues to do so.”
Durlin Lunt, town manager of Mount Desert, declined this week to comment on the negotiations or on the complaint, other than to say “we will answer [the complaint].”
The prior contract between the collective bargaining unit and the town expired last summer, but the two sides have been unable to reach a new agreement. According to Piccone, the sides remain divided over the issue of health insurance and “the [town’s] total disregard for the intent of Maine labor laws.”
All three members of a fact-finding panel — a representative of the town, a representative of the employees and a neutral party — have endorsed a proposal to switch to a less expensive plan and to create a town-funded health reimbursement account for unionized employees to lessen their out-of-pocket expenses on deductibles and co-pays.
The town had proposed switching to a cheaper plan and creating a reimbursement account to cover the difference in deductible expenses between the current plan and the new one. According to a majority report written by the fact-finding panel and submitted to the state labor board, the town had not proposed also using the reimbursement account to cover the difference in co-pay expenses between the two plans.
According to Piccone, the union has accepted the recommendations in the majority report, but the town has not.
The majority of the panel — the town representative and the neutral party — also have recommended in their report that each employees receive wage increases of 2 percent each year for three years and a $750 signing bonus, switching from a weekly to a biweekly payment schedule, and making the new contract retroactive to Sept. 1, 2014.
Attempts Saturday to contact Piccone for additional comment were unsuccessful.