|By Anna Jauhola, The Daily Republic, Mitchell, S.D.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The nine employees of the
The employees began campaigning for union status in
Since then, employees claim district management and its legal representation have made it difficult to negotiate a contract.
"For the amount of money they've poured into stopping the union, they could have already negotiated a contract," said
The water district is represented by
"Accommodation is made by the employer to have Burdzinski at the table," Hicks said. "Were it not for that, maybe we'd get more movement if it were a local firm." The water district furnishes water to
The contention between the district and its employees is obvious.
"The insurance is the straw that broke the camel's back," said
Durham and other employees who wanted insurance through the district claim the manager's wife was uninsurable, which drove up the cost for everyone.
"The manager wanted
Durham said employees received a small stipend to help pay for other plans and others went on their spouses' insurance.
While the employees are in negotiations, Durham said, they continue to receive that stipend.
He said the employees are also upset they have to subsidize their own insurance when the manager's is funded by the district.
"The manager has his own contract with the water district," Durham said.
Hicks said last week she is confident the
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