Centre County settles contract dispute with Centre Crest union workers

A contract dispute between Centre County and the Centre Crest nursing home union has been resolved following an almost eight-month standoff.

The Centre County Board of Commissioners approved the contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees at the commissioners’ meeting Tuesday.

The deal includes a 1 percent raise effective Jan. 1 and another effective July 1. In exchange for the pay increase, the county got a reduction in the amount of sick leave allotted to the AFSCME employees.

“I’m very pleased we were able to get this resolution approved and move on,” Commissioner Michael Pipe said.

The previous contract expired on Dec. 31, 2012. The union filed a charge of unfair practice under the public employee relations act to the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board in May.

A hearing was scheduled for December, but with this resolution, the union withdrew the complaint, said Denise Elbell, county director of financial management.

The contract will be in effect until the change to a nonprofit or Dec. 31, whichever comes first. The nonprofit has recognized the union and will be negotiating a new contract to take effect after the transition.

Union representative Tom Gibbs was not immediately available for comment.

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