SHELDON—Sam Kooiker is asking the Sheldon City Council to back a merger between two of the city’s union groups when it meets at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 17.

The Sheldon city manager expressed his support for combining the Public Works Collective Bargaining Unit and Police Collective Bargaining Unit, both of which are part of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local Union 1741, in his report to the council.

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 were mostly 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.

Sheldon’s group would meet the criteria as eight employees would represent the public works side of things and the other six are members of the police union.

Kooiker noted the final call for this merger falls to the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board, but that city support can go a long way in this matter. He also provided the council a list of pros and cons for the proposal.

During the meeting, the council could table the matter until the Aug. 7 meeting, move forward in supporting the merger, remain neutral or request a delay until after the October recertification period for the unions.

Kooiker noted those last two options could trigger a Public Employment Relations Board hearing.

In other business, the council will consider:

  • A resolution on designating the city’s depositories based the responses from a request for proposal sent out on May 15.
  • The appointment of Caleb Schreurs to a six-year term on the Sheldon Library Board.
  • The appointment Lori Anderson to a five-year on the Sheldon Parks Commission.
  • An update from O’Brien County Economic Development executive director Kiana Johnson.
  • A three-year fireworks agreement with Village Northwest Unlimited.
  • Witnessing new police officer Eric Meinecke take the oath of office.