North Liberty-based South Slope Cooperative, union agree to new contract

Agreement effective through September 2015

George Ford
Published: March 17 2014 | 4:56 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:45 am in

South Slope Cooperative Communications on Monday announced that it had reached agreement with members of the Communications Workers of America on a new contract, effective through September 2015.

North Liberty-based South Slope said members of the CWA voted on Saturday to approve the agreement.

Justyn Miller, CEO of South Slope, said the new contract includes a 1 percent wage increase, added flexibility, increased job security, improved vacation time, and a fully funded pension. Miller said the agreement also includes concessions by both parties.

The 50 employees represented by the union work in South Slope’s outside plant, clerical and information technology  departments.

CWA members initially rejected South Slope’s contract offer on Nov. 3, 2013. With the assistance of a federal mediator, minor modifications were made to the contract and it was presented to the union membership for another vote in mid-November, which brought the same result.

Major concerns included the removal of dues deductions from the contract, the 11-month duration of the contract, two-tier wages and other changes to scheduling and call out procedures.

South Slope imposed the terms of what it termed its last, best offer to the CWA. The union filed charges against South Slope with the National Labor Relations Board for bad faith bargaining and what it claimed was the unwarranted suspension of a union supporter.

Miller said the NLRB will whether to pursue the bad faith bargaining charges in light of the new contract agreement.

Kay Pence of the Communications Workers of America in Urbandale said a May hearing is scheduled on the bargaining charges.

South Slope Communications, which provides telephone, Internet and cable television, serves Amana, Ely, Fairfax, Newhall, North Liberty, Norway, Oxford, Solon, Shueyville, Tiffin, Watkins, Walford, west and south Cedar Rapids, and parts of Coralville.

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