Auditor’s employees become Teamsters

Published 10:25 am Friday, September 18, 2009

Add another county office now represented by the Teamsters union.

Seven employees of the Lawrence County Auditor’s Office collectively became Teamsters Local 92 as of Sept. 1.

“Mainly it was job security,” said auditor’s employee Jamie Willis. “With the county in the shape it’s in, we thought raises were not possible but mainly it was the job security.”

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She said the employees decided to go with the Teamsters union because that entity already represents employees in the clerk of courts and treasurer’s office.

Chief Deputy Auditor Chris Kline was the only staff member who did not become part of the union because he is considered management.

Auditor Ray T. Dutey said the employees got a small raise, 3 percent or less, because they did not get a raise at the beginning of the year as employees in other offices received.

He said the raises came from money that was saved when he did not replace an employee who recently retired.

He said his employees first approached him about forming a union after he announced he would not seek another term in office next year.

“They came in and wanted to know when I was going to leave,” Dutey said. “I haven’t decided (if he will retire before the end of his term).”

The unionization of the auditor’s office leaves only a couple of county courthouse offices not unionized: probate court, the recorder’s office and prosecutor’s office.

The rest are represented either by the teamsters, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) or, in the case of the sheriff’s office, the Fraternal Order of Police.

Recorder Sharon Gossett Hager said her employees approached her a year or so ago about possibly forming a union and she filled out her end of the necessary paperwork for them to do so. In the end they chose not to unionize.

“I pretty much stay out of that, as an employer,” she said. “So I did the preliminary paperwork and they had some talks and came back and said they decided not to go through with it. It was their decision and I would have supported them either way.”