By Byran Lally, AFSCME Representative
Wednesday was the last day either team could present new proposals in bargaining. Most of the articles to be bargained had already been opened by one side or the other, so it was mostly counter-proposals being made.
The only new article opened was Addendum I, which covers the Sheriff’s Office. The proposal would provide more flexibility in vacation bids for the 24/7 staff. It would also allow 24/7 staff to bid not only for shifts and days off but also location. In addition, we proposed expanding the time frame for a shift trade, from two pay periods to 60 days. Finally, we proposed to incorporate the terms of a Memorandum of Agreement that explains the current MCSO process for determining days of rest for purposes of overtime.
We added a piece to our proposal on Article 10 Other Leaves; it would require that any employee serving jury duty would be switched to a Monday to Friday day shift so that they wouldn’t have to report to work after attending a full day of jury duty.
There was a counter-proposal offered on Addendum H Drug & Alcohol Policy, which agreed to include the prohibition against soliciting alcohol or drugs in the workplace and clarified that if a last chance agreement is violated the employee can be terminated without a pre-termination meeting. However the employee would retain the right to grieve the termination.
Most importantly, Local 88 made a counter-offer on Article 14 Compensation. Management is offering the current Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 2.7% as a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), and the next two years would be the CPI rate with a minimum of 1% and a maximum of 4%. We responded with a proposal for a COLA of CPI plus 1% each year for the next three years, with a minimum of 2% and a maximum of 5% (plus the 1%).
This is an effort to recoup some of the earnings lost during the COLA freezes and step freeze we took when the county was in financial trouble. We shared in the pain, so now that the economy has improved and the County is financially stable, we need to share in the gain.
Management did not offer any counter-proposals during this session. We were not very surprised by this because there is new County leadership with the election of Chair Deborah Kafoury. Their team will have to meet with her to receive direction on what her position is on the articles at issue.
All Local 88 members need to understand that the additional compensation we are asking for will not be easy to get. Our strength at the table is dependent on your support.