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Electrical Workers Dispute: Arbitration Process Open to Public

Monday, June, 13, 2011

The arbitration process remains largely a mystery to many Americans, but citizens of Evansville, Iowa will have an opportunity this week to see it in person at Monday's 9am arbitration session between the city and Local 288 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.  Seven electricians working for the city have been unable to settle on contract terms.  At issue are wage and benefit provisions in the contracts.


The Iowa Public Employment Relations Board will send an official to Evansville, a town of under 5,000 people.  His job will be to hear proposals from the workers' representatives and from the city.  No ruling is expected during Monday's session, but one will be announced at a later date.  It remains to be seen if a decision will be issued prior to the expiration of this year's contract, which happens on June 30th, the end of the fiscal year for the city.


Arbitration Process: The Mayor's View


The mayor of Evansville, Chad Deutsch has said he is confident the city's proposal will be accepted, remarking that the city "is very justified in its position.”  Currently, members of the bargaining unit earn an average wage of slightly over $15.00 per hour.  According to Deutsch, that is commensurate with what other cities the size of Evansville are able to pay municipal workers.  The union wants a 2.5% pay increase across the board.