8/24 Contract Bargaining Update

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After every bargaining session, full updates like this one are sent out to members; if you are a Local 88 member and do not receive them, please email your personal email address to mat.coordinator@afscmelocal88.org to be added. Generally bargaining updates will not be posted publicly on this website or elsewhere.

AFSCME Local 88 Bargaining Update

August 24, 2011

Yesterday’s bargaining held a lot of potential for progress.  The Local 88 bargaining team came to the table with an idea that we thought made a lot of sense.  In the last two bargaining sessions all the remaining articles were put into one big package.  This time we split the articles into 2 separate packages, one with language changes and the other mostly economic issues.

The two sides were already very close on most of the language articles so we presented that package first, thinking we could get those out of the way in the morning and focus on the real priorities – the money – in the afternoon.  The language package proposal contained Article 7 Holidays, Article 15 Classifications & Pay Ranges, Article 19 Contracting Out, Article 21 Seniority & Layoff, Article 22 Shift & Work Assignment and Article 24 General Provisions.  It also included Addendum E Auto Reimbursements and Addendum K IT Employees.

Our proposals on Articles 7, 15 and 22 contained what the county said they wanted on those articles.  The language in article 19 would stay the same as it currently appears in the contract.  Article 21had the language that the county proposed in their last package offer.  Article 24, addendum E and addendum K had minor changes we wanted.

We presented this to the county and they responded with a package that agreed to everything except articles 19 and 21.  Their package also contained language they wanted on Addendum C.  The main sticking point for the county was that we were proposing to keep county-wide bumping (Article 21) and they want to eliminate it.

It appears the only way they will allow us to keep county-wide bumping is if we agree to a 0% COLA.  This despite the fact that we had already removed important language that we wanted in Article 21that would have put limitations on KSAs and would have entitled laid off employees to positions under Project Save rather than it being management’s prerogative .  We also removed new language in Article 19 that would have strengthened the contracting out language.

In order to sweeten the deal, we put together a second offer, which gave them what they wanted on 7 of the 8 articles, as long as they agreed to keep county-wide bumping intact.  They still said no and so we told them we’re done.  We are not willing to go any further.  In fact, if our second offer wasn’t good enough then we are reverting back to our previous positions on those other articles, meaning that instead of taking a big jump forward in negotiations, things will be moving backward.  That’s not how we want it, but we aren’t going to sacrifice seniority.

Having reached a stalemate, the county proposed that we TA Articles 7 and 15, since we were already had agreement on them several weeks ago.  We signed off, and then management decided they weren’t willing to show anymore movement on the remaining articles in the package, so they called it a day at 2:30.  We had started the day ready with two significant packages, ready to make this the most productive day of bargaining yet, but ended with an aborted and wasted session two hours early.

While we TA’d two articles, there was no real progress.  A day full of potential was wasted by the county’s stubbornness.  Local 88 came to the table ready to make significant compromises to wrap up a big portion of the contract, but management refused to do their part simply because they don’t want our laid off members to be able to bump into other departments.

We have shown the county we will fight back, and we are going to continue fighting, but we can’t do it alone.  We need you to show them that you are with us.  We are planning an action for Wednesday, August 31 which is our next day of bargaining and we need your support.  Look for an announcement with the details.