Here is the latest newsletter Bottom Line_issue 5 reporting on the June 14th negotiations session. Please read!
What happened at the June 14 session?
Tentative Agreements, known as TA’s, result when both sides agree to an article. It is “tentative” because none of these agreements are final until the contract is final.
One article was TAed this session: Article 10: Leave Due To Emergency or Adverse Weather Condition. In Section 10.1 of that article our union agreed to add language specifying that if a worksite becomes unsafe in the event of an emergency, employees may be reassigned to an alternate site for the remainder of that working day. In Section 10.2 our union agreed to add language clarifying employees must notify their supervisors as soon as they can in the event of adverse weather conditions that may jeopardize their ability to travel to and from work. It was also further clarified that employees may use leave accruals to cover this type of leave.
Counterproposals and Proposals
Submitted By Management:
Management did not submit any counterproposals this session.
Submitted by Union:
Article 2: Union Security & Checkoff; Article 5: Employee Rights; Article 6: Union Representation; Article 12: Uniforms; Article 14: Leaves; Article 15: Vacation Accumulation; Article 16: Holidays; Article 18: Wages; Article 20: Special Pay; Article 22: Health and Dental Insurance Benefits; Article 23: Other Benefits; Article 24: Posting Job Vacancies; Article 36: Term of Agreement
Our union began the session by submitting Articles 5, 6, 12, 14, 18, 22, and 36 (5 year contract). Articles 18 and 22 included the stipend, COLAs (aka, pay raise) of 22% over 5 years (5%, 4%, 4%, 4%, and 5%), and a strike out of Management language specifying employees pay 50/50 of anything over the first 5% of premium increase based on insurance renewal. Consider that sometimes insurance renewal can be up 18%+! That is unacceptable and would be a major burden to employees. The City has been saving millions since we moved to a HDHP.
Our union told Management that they had other counterproposals, but were anxious for a response to Articles 18 and 22 as these are the articles that matter most to our members. Management expressed frustration with our union maintaining its position on the stipend and suggested the need to go to mediation (Todd called it a “log jam”). Mediation happens when neither party can agree on specifics in our contract and professional help must be hired to facilitate a compromise. The facilitator is generally a labor attorney appointed by the state whose job is getting the sides to an agreement as quickly as possible. Mediation usually takes 1-3 sessions to get folks to agreement, if it’s going to happen.
While our union made it clear that the stipend is one of the most important issues for our members, we do not believe we are already at an impasse and feel mediation is being used as a threat. Management claimed that they were not intending mediation as a threat. Management also expressed frustration that our union did not present all articles that have an economic impact and stated it would be impossible to have a conversation on wages and insurance without them. Our union maintained that all other outstanding articles have a minimal economic impact and did not prevent us from discussing wages and insurance. However, in an effort to grease the wheels, our union provided counterproposals to articles Management identified as having economic impact, 15, 16, 20, and 23, in addition to three other articles our union had prepared, 2, 10, and 24.
What happens next?
Attend a bargaining session: We have reached agreement on two future bargaining dates in July: July 18th and July 26th . We encourage you attend some or all of these sessions. Keep up the good attendance!
Our current contract expires June 30, 2018; however, the current contract will remain in effect until the new contract is negotiated.
We need feedback on COLA/pay raise scenarios! What is acceptable to you? Please share any thoughts with your negotiations team or stewards.
Why are COLAs/pay raises important? Without them our wages would be outpaced by inflation. Your dollar would drop in value and you would not be able to maintain your current cost of living. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is often used to determine the rate of inflation. To calculate the CPI, the BLS compares the costs of many different types of goods and services and determines an overall rate of inflation. There are CPIs for specific regions, so we often look to the CPI-W here on the West Coast. The CPI is not a perfect measure; for example, it’s been criticized for not looking at housing costs. However, it is helpful in communicating the importance of keeping wages rising each year and gives us a base percentage from which to start. Find out more about the CPI here: https://www.bls.gov/cpi/questions-and-answers.htm.
Please, lend a hand: We continue to need help with events and engagement. Help our union find great things to post on the Local 2975 Facebook page! Help us out with one of our lunch rallies and feel the love! Excited about the July 7th bowling night and want to help? Yes, please!! Ruth Rose Hennessey, our Member Engagement Captain, can always use a hand – please feel free to contact her directly to find out how you can help out! Always within your comfort levels and time constraints, of course. Ruth Rose can be reached at email@example.com
Also, **MUCH LOVE** to **Ruth Rose Hennessey**! She has done so much to make the Negotiations Team feel appreciated and recruited many of you to help spread the love as well! Believe us, Management is jealous of all of our delicious treats and fabulous lunches! And, they can clearly see how united we are. A massive thanks to EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU that has contributed and helped to make this one of the best bargaining years ever in terms of member engagement!
Last, but not least, BOWLING!!!!!!!! Don’t miss bowling night on Saturday, July 7th from 6:30-8:30pm at Highland Bowl in Corvallis. Free shoes, free bowling. Bring the family. Raffle prizes! Solidarity! Don’t miss it!
You can also contact a member of Team AFSCME directly.
Adam Womack (alternate), Carlos Lopez, Shilo Anway (alternate), and Tim Bates (Public Works)
Bonnie Brzozowski (Library)
Luke Cotton (IT)
Jon Pywell and Natalie Summerlin (Parks & Rec)