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Union, Metro Government Reach Deal on Air Pollution Control Jobs

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Louisville’s Air Pollution Control District has reached an agreement with the union that represents several of its employees. This is the latest move in the agency’s restructuring, which began afteraudits found serious problemswith the way the APCD collected air monitoring data.The APCD initially had 21 union positions, though five of them are currently unfilled due to attrition. The deal will allow the agency to cut an additional three positions, bringing the total number of union employees to 13.Overall, the district will go from 67 to 60 employees under the reorganization. The non-union positions were reorganized earlier this year.“I think this makes us a more efficient operation,” APCD Executive Director Keith Talley said on Monday. “This wasn’t addressed at anyone in particular, just focused on making this a better, stronger agency.”The union had fought the reorganization, and received an injunction in May that halted progress. But that injunction was dismissed last month by an appeals court; even though the APCD could have acted without reaching a settlement, the agency was close to an agreement with the union and continued negotiations.Besides wanting to preserve as many jobs as possible, the union was also concerned about the APCD’s plan to rewrite all job descriptions to require a bachelor’s degree. That’s still the case for the revamped “field technician” and “quality control technician” positions. But as a concession, workers applying for one of the “community compliance officer” positions will be allowed to substitute up to four years of air quality experience for the education requirement. Talley described this as a “one-time grandfathering clause”—when the job is posted in the future, only up to two years of work experience will be accepted as a substitution.The 13 new union positions will be posted Tuesday at 8a.m., and will remain open until September 23. Talley said once they’ve been filled, any remaining employees without positions will be issued layoff letters.“We are happy to have gotten to this point and are looking forward to moving the agency forward,” Talley said.A call to the local union—the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees—wasn’t returned Monday afternoon.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.