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Yankton city employees vote down contract offer

YANKTON (AP) — Unionized city employees in Yankton have rejected a contract offered by the southeastern South Dakota city, and negotiations will begin anew.

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The proposed cost-of-living increase in the contract was the main reason it was voted down Tuesday night, Matt Miller, executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3968, told the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan newspaper.

"With the 0.5 percent cost-of-living proposal, the city employees would actually be making less money in 2014 than in 2013 if the current package was accepted," he said. "The result speaks to the frustration of the city employees over feeling valued and respected in the city of Yankton."

The previous contract approved in 2010 will remain in effect until a new deal is reached, City Manager Amy Nelson said.

"At this point, the management team will sit back down with the collective bargaining unit and go back to the negotiations," she said. "Nothing is finalized until a proposal that is both agreed upon by management and collective bargaining unit is brought to the City Commission. At that point the City Commission considers it and they make the final approval."