Sheldon Council - Union Talk

AFSCME union representative Preston DeBoer asks the Sheldon City Council to support a merger between two city union at the Wednesday, July 17, meeting.

SHELDON—The Sheldon City Council will hear an update on the status of the city’s two union groups when it meets at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18.

The Public Works Collective Bargaining Unit and Police Collective Bargaining Unit, members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local Union 1741, want to become a single entity, and have asked the city to sign a stipulation of support for the cause.

In the past, each bargaining unit has negotiated with the city individually. However, a 2017 change in state law limited the bargaining ability of most unions, including public works, but police unions mostly were unaffected.

By joining forces, the combined union would fall under the public safety category and therefore would circumvent the limitations imposed by the state on most unions.

Public safety unions require at least 30 percent of its members to be public safety employees and Sheldon’s proposed group meets that criteria.

The council took no action on the request during its Aug. 7 meeting and at Wednesday's meeting, it is expected to receive a letter of support from city employees who are in favor of the merger.

AFSCME representative Preston DeBoer will present the letter on behalf of the city’s 17 union employees.

According to city manager Sam Kooiker’s report, the council can take three actions in regards to the request during a future meeting:

  • It can sign a stipulation letter contingent upon review by city attorney Micah Schreurs and that the unions agree to recertify during October elections.
  • It can defer action until the Nov. 6 meeting, which takes place after the recertification elections.
  • Decline to take action again, which would trigger an Iowa Public Employee Relations Board hearing in Des Moines.

In other business at Wednesday's meeting, the council will consider:

  • Appointing Bailey Elgersma to the Sheldon Planning and Zoning Commission.
  • Josh Boomgarden’s application to join the Sheldon Community Ambulance Team.
  • An application for the O’Brien County Snowtrackers to approve trail with in primary highway rights of way.
  • A petition to place a franchise agreement with MidAmerican Energy Co. on the Nov. 6 ballot.
  • Authorizing requests for proposals for the former DJ’s Redemption Services and Sunset Motel properties as well as a residential property at 1023 Garfield Ave.