FREDS State of the Cuts Address, 4/15/11

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FREDS State of the Cuts Address, 4/15/11

The FREDS Task Force had two on-site work meetings this week, first at Yeon and then at Banfield. AFSCME Staff Representative Bryan Lally spoke at both meetings, and Tom Guiney (former FREDS Director) attended the first Task Force meeting on Tuesday in Yeon, where he went over the details of his recent Fleet Maintenance report, and answered questions on how we will go forward with it. On Thursday, our Union President Michael Hanna attended,  and helped paint a broader picture of how we will be going forward from here, and steps the Union can take in a worse case scenario. We had great contributions from FREDS members who attended the meetings, and value your feedback.

On Wednesday March 13, Tom and Michael met with the Fleet Maintenance Implementation Team to formally present Tom’s report to them. In the meeting, our team made the findings clear — specifically where our numbers do not match the Coraggio Group’s — and where we question some of their methodology.  When new calculations are used, they show that the County could actually lose a considerable amount of money if they implement the recommendation to outsource Fleet Maintenance. The next step for the Fleet Maintenance Implementation Team will be to draft and issue an RFP. The RFP will determine the fiscal value of the work done in Fleet Maintenance, and private vendors will be able to submit proposals to the County.

Local 88 has the right to bid on the Fleet Maintenance RFP once it is public. The County is responsible for issuing the RFP, and we could analyze it with other union experts – probably from AFSCME International – to put together our own proposal. We would then submit our proposal to the County, and see how it compares to the other bids. This is not a common action, but it has been done in the past, most recently with AFSCME Local 328 at OHSU, where a group of employees won an RFP bid after OHSU tried to outsource medical billing in a similar situation.

The Multnomah Evolves Steering Committee will be discussing and developing the RFP, so since there are three union representatives on this committee (Michael, Bryan, and DCM’s Chief Steward, Deirdre), we will excuse ourselves from the room where the RFP is being discussed to ensure full integrity of the process. The RFP is public, but we can’t have any information before other bidders do on how it will be scored or rated. We will maintain clear boundaries to be sure we do not receive any information on the RFP that would give us an unfair advantage over any outside bidders.

Today, Friday the 15th, Michael and Tom met with Joanne Fuller from the Chair’s Office to present Tom’s Fleet Maintenance report. Making full use of the Yeon building is something that came up with members in both Task Force meetings, and remains a core issue in Coraggio’s recommendation of outsourcing Fleet Maintenance.  There is concern about the possibility of creating a “Wapato #2” if Yeon is further vacated but unable to be sold, and right next to the Yeon building is the Annex building, another County building which has a high vacancy of office space. Tom’s report recommends maximizing the use of our buildings, and increasing intergovernmental business for Fleet Maintenance, so that we can offset costs.

There has been some confusion among FREDS members about recent meetings on Chair Cogen’s part. There have been a series of meetings which Chair Cogen has conducted, where our members are invited to meet with him in their workplaces. To clarify, although FREDS members have been notified, these are not FREDS-specific nor Coraggio Report cuts informational meetings. They are DCM-wide meetings that also include members in IT and Facilities, and the purpose is to discuss the potential restructuring of the County and the merging of IT, Facilities, and FREDS into the Department of County Assets. Although it is good that Chair Cogen is meeting with workers about the restructuring, the FREDS cuts are more pressing since actual jobs are at stake. Another concern that has been raised by workers is that Chair Cogen’s first meeting of this kind was with DART, and after various other meetings, he plans to meet with FREDS last – which has been interpreted as a lack of consideration for the human aspect of proposed FREDS cuts.

Chair Cogen will be at FREDS for three meetings: April 27 at Yeon, April 29 at Banfield, and May 4 at Blanchard. There has been confusion over why workers were told they can only attend meetings at their work site, and that only applies if you were scheduled to work during that time. You can take personal time (if you aren’t working), flex time (with supervisor approval), or vacation time to attend any meetings.

Tom has consulted with Brian Lewis (former manager of Central Stores) to work with him on the portion of his report which focuses on Central Stores, and is expecting to finish it in the next couple weeks.  One problem with the Coraggio Group’s report in regards to Central Stores is that if you decentralize the buying process, you won’t have the oversight we have now, and potential costs can increase. In San Francisco, it cost $5 million in a similar situation with waste on buying with no oversight. Another aspect of Central Stores which is unique is that we are currently one stop, full service – everyting is internal. If we contract out, we probably will not be able to get that kind of full service from more specialized private companies.

In preparation for worse case scenarios, we are researching all of our options for finding positions for current FREDS employees to “land” should outsourcing proceed with Fleet Maintenance and/or Central Stores.

Next Tuesday, April 19th, there will be a MAT night of fun, with food, trivia, and socializing, but also substantive updates on what is happening in bargaining. We need our FREDS members to come, so you can stay informed on exactly what is happening with the contract – it’s important for all members, but especially relevant since jobs are at stake. Also at the meeting, there will be FREDS campaign actions, including letter writing to Chair Cogen – we need FREDS members to show they’re involved too, and come out for it. A separate email inviting you was sent to you; please RSVP to me ASAP to make sure we have enough food for everyone!

The first of a series of “Meet FREDS” interviews was kicked off on Tuesday by Keith, you can read it here http://www.afscmelocal88.org/2011/04/meet-freds-interview-1-keith-m/.