City to enter agreement with union, wage study planned

Rapid City’s Legal and Finance Committee approved all six items on its consent agenda Wednesday afternoon, including an agreement with one of the city’s unions.

The agreement between the city and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), or what Human Resources Director Nick Stroot said is sometimes referred to as the “blue collar union,” will move on to the full city council Monday night .

According to the agenda summary, the city agreed to conduct a wage study in 2023 for AFSCME employees to address “consistent issues with lagging wages” within the city‘s work groups. The wage study would be used as the foundation for negotiation of 2024 wages.

Most of the changes are clarifications from confusing language, addressing processes and focusing on ongoing pay issues.

Stroot said Wednesday that the union contains eight of the city’s 12 departments. The Rapid City Police Department and Rapid City Fire Department have their own unions.

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He said the city finished negotiations with AFSCME last week.

“It was a good negotiation in stark contrast with our last one,” Stroot said.

He said he’s excited because it’s the middle of October, which gives them two and a half months rather than ratifying the agreement near the end of December like last time.

Stroot said his office is happy with it,

as is AFSCME. He said the group will be present Monday night.

Council member Pat Jones asked if council members have been or could be part of the negotiations. City Attorney Joel Landeen said historically council members have not been part of discussions. He said the negotiations have been eight-hour meetings over a few days.

Landeen said they could consider having more communication and giving more updates to council members on the negotiations.

— Contact Siandhara Bonnet at [email protected]

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