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Liberty considering contract changes over holiday

LIBERTY — Liberty trustees are expected to account for the new Juneteenth holiday with addendums to labor contracts.

Trustee Devon Stanley said the new holiday was passed quickly, giving little time to plan for it.

President Joe Biden declared June 19 a federal holiday June 17. The holiday celebrates the end of slavery and was celebrated by communities, families and organizations long before it was given federal declaration.

Holiday days off and holiday pay are set in labor contracts for township employees, Stanley said.

So, trustees followed the contract language when determining how to handle the new holiday, he said. Trustees want to honor the holiday and so are likely to work with the unions in the near future to add addendums to contracts that already don’t include language to address holidays.

The contracts, available online through the State Employee Relations Board, are worded differently for each union.

The police officers’ contract language states “all bargaining unit employees shall enjoy, as holidays, those days designated as holidays by (Ohio Revised Code). Detective bureau members shall enjoy holiday benefits on the day of celebration designated by the State of Ohio for state employees.”

The state recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday after the federal government made the proclamation.

But in the contracts for road department employees, the eight holidays that are recognized are listed by name, along with two floating holidays that have to be set by the union at the beginning of the year.

“We don’t mind adding it into the contracts for the years to come,” Stanley said.

The trustees have until the end of the year to decide if those employees who didn’t receive the day off should get holiday pay or a floating holiday to take, he said.

With only four employees in the road department affected, it won’t be expensive or a burden to the township to add a holiday into the mix, he said.

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