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Yellowstone County, court workers reach tentative contract, avert strike

Yellowstone County Employees Union president Katie Cosby stands in from of the county courthouse on January 19, 2023.
Kayla Desroches
/
Yellowstone Public Radio
Yellowstone County Employees Union president Katie Cosby stands in from of the county courthouse on January 19, 2023.

Yellowstone County has avoided a courthouse strike over contract language that the local union said left it out of pay discussions.

The county and the local chapter of the Montana Federation of Public Employees reached a contract Wednesday after months of negotiations.

Katie Cosby is president of the Yellowstone County Employees Union, which represents about 80% of the courthouse, or roughly 120 people.

“We were able to tentatively agree because we still need to take it back to our members, but I think we secured language that gave us our bargaining rights on wages and gave our members some good wages,” Cosby said.

Court workers have been without a contract since it expired last summer. They said proposed contracts set pay for new hires above current employees without giving the union the opportunity to participate in negotiations. The county said it was an issue of management rights.

A spokesperson for Yellowstone County says they’re pleased to have come to a tentative agreement with the union. The contract still needs to be ratified.

The Montana Federation of Public Employees also represents Yellowstone Public Radio staff members.

Corrected: January 23, 2023 at 11:57 AM MST
The version of this story that aired on YPR incorrectly identified Katie Cosby as Katie Crosby.
Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.