UPDATED 26-Mar-2009 (see below)
The DAS bargaining team should have wrapped up two days of bargaining today. No word yet (at least to me) on what may have come out of the the effort. If you're one of the folks being kept in-the-loop, feel free to let us all know what is happening.
It's also been brought to my attention the great disparity in who gets information regarding anything that the 503 is involved in. While some groups are set to receive updates tomorrow, March 11th, the majority of us are seemingly to be left in-the-dark. It would be nice to say that the Local web site will be updated so everyone can find out what is happening. That has not been the case in the past as updates are often slow to come, if at all.
So please share if you know something. We will certainly reciprocate.
Surprise! We received a timely update on bargaining. The update that came out today stated:
SEIU Local 503 Bargaining Alert for DAS members: 3/11/09
Our bargaining team went back to the basics in our latest meetings Monday and Tuesday in the aftermath of the collapse of early settlement talks with the state. This more traditional approach means it is likely consideration of core economic issues such as step increases, furloughs and health care will be deferred while we address non-economic issues.
Management continues to propose a complete wage freeze - no cost of living or step increases for the biennium; elimination of the 10th step, 26 furlough days (15 unpaid holidays and an additional 11 scheduled unpaid days off) and a provision to reopen the contract next year, allowing the state to demand further cuts to pay and benefits.
Over the last two weeks members have spoken loudly through worksite actions - emailing agency heads and organizing delegations to managers to send the message that the state's proposal is outrageous. This week our bargaining team sent that same message at the bargaining table by formally rejecting the state's proposal.
Our bargaining team has proposed maintaining our health care benefits and preserve our step increases - including the 10th step. Our team recognizes that in these economic times shared and fair sacrifices will be required. We proposed 64 hours on unpaid furloughs that may be scheduled by workers similar to vacation leave along with more than a dozen other considerations. Additionally, we made proposals to bring transparency and accountability to contracting out, expanding the scope of the labor-management relationship to include addressing such issues as delivery of quality services and reducing energy emissions.
Now that we have reverted back to traditional bargaining, the next several bargaining sessions will focus on many non-economic issues that are important to us. We must continue to raise our voices in our worksites to ensure that management does not mistake the slower pace of bargaining for apathy or even resignation. Please "purple up" your worksite, sign the "Quality is Part of the Bargain" pledge and make sure your agency managers know that the state's proposal is outrageous.
We will be bargaining again on March 23rd and 24th at our Salem Headquarters.
So we're back to standard bargaining. Ignoring the financial considerations, what are we trying to address this time? We all know the standard items that top our bargaining surveys. And those are financial. So what tops our list of contract articles we want to change?
If anyone has updates regarding the OUS bargaining, there are certainly people that would be interested in that information as well.
In an update from Leslie Frane today--yes, Friday the 13th--some additional information was presented.
As already reported, there is no fast-track bargaining. We've reverted to standard bargaining. That means that all of the non-economic issues are back on the table for us to discuss, along with the economic ones. Some of the items that were mentioned are:
- Making it easier to get 4-10 hour shifts
- Modifying the layoff language
- Increasing New Employee Orientation time to 30 minutes
- Salary selectives
The bargaining team also made a proposal in response to the insult previously offered by management:
- Rename furlough days to better represent what they are: mandatory unpaid days off
- Offered 8 mandatory unpaid days off, but none this biennium. Some notes on language or how they would be implemented includes:
- Exemptions for our lowest wage workers.
- Labor Management would decide on an agency-by-agency basis how to schedule in the case where there aren't whole-office closures.
- Schedule time off by hours, not days.
- The offer is null-and-void if management doesn't meet at least the same number of days.
As should be expected, management has not responded yet. They are probably waiting for the May budget forecast. We can expect very hard and heavy bargaining in the May-June time frame.
Questions have also come up regarding strikes. It's probably too early to really say what may come to pass. I will say that Leslie mentioned three questions we need to answer with regards to a strike. They are valid questions, and right now I do not believe we have the answers:
- Do we have unilateral support for a strike?
- What is the public reaction?
- What will we win?
If you think you have the answers, let's discuss it. Gut reactions aren't enough here. We need hard data.
The Board of Directors met yesterday. During the session they had a brief bargaining update. Nothing new as far as the DAS bargaining. The Homecare bargaining is currently slow going. Childcare is just getting started. There's also Local Government and Nursing home bargaining. What was news was the latest news from the OUS bargaining.
"Higher Ed is DAS on steroids!"
The OUS bargaining started with a bad offer, and moved forward to make it even worse. How does this sample sound?:
- No paid holidays (10 per year).
- Unlimited furlough days at management's "discretion".
- Adding furlough into the contract so it will stay forever.
If this is the sort of people running our higher education system, do we want our children being influenced by them?
The latest updates from DAS coalition bargaining are short. The first account I was given said simply that nothing significant had occured during the bargaining on Monday and Tuesday of this week. A follow up from another source added that management had taken the second year re-opener out of the "deal." That's a start; barely.
Word is that even California is retracting some of their draconian measures against public employees. Let's hope that Oregon learns a lesson from them and starts bargaining in good faith again.
We only have to wait until May to find out.