Why so shy?

Scott's picture

Why are we downplaying the DAS Bargaining Conference? Yes, it's been 8 months of bargaining. Yes, it was very tough. So again I ask, why are we downplaying this very important next step in finalizing a contract for State agency workers?

There was a lot more hoopla last contract. I wasn't nearly as involved then, but I still remember hearing about the bargaining conference. I remember that I could have gone if I so chose.

Not this time. We're actively downplaying it. The information being provided, if you see it, implies that only the bargaining delegates will be attending the conference. If you check the registration form, it lists officers, delegates, etc. Sure, that's the group of people the Union will foot the bill for, but still no mention that members are welcome! That's OK they seem to say, we'll get to vote in the mail ballot. Actually, we can do both.

They don't even appear to be promoting it among the privileged few that are covered. Not all of the local officers know about their being covered to attend. When someone who did know asked about it, they were told it's coming soon and that everything's set up. When asked about when and where...oops, look at the time!

Maybe they think that we won't question because we have to do this so quickly. That's a very weak excuse. Even if we don't make a point of preparing materials around the Bargaining Conference, we could easily have included full and accurate information in the materials we were already creating and distributing. Not to mention word-of-mouth.

Exactly what are they afraid of? SEIU 503 members are generally a pretty apathetic bunch. [Go ahead. Post a rebuttal. Prove me wrong.] It's not likely that the DAS Bargaining Conference is going to turn that around. That makes me think that maybe there's something they don't want the more active members to hear, scrutinize, and share with others.

 

For information on the conference, you can get the key details (and the registration form)  by reading about the DAS Bargaining Conference.

__________________

Scott
—————
"An intractable problem can only be resolved by stepping beyond conventional solutions." — Ozymandias

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Re: Why so shy?

I am hearing no one will be turned away and, focusing on bargaining delegates is a budget issue. But I agree the lack of the normal hoopla for the other member leaders seems odd. At the meetings I have attended this past week, where any bargaining team member was in attendance, any mention of negative feedback from worksites caused a rapid change in topic and it was likely that person would not be called on again for questions or comments. It does feel like something is being hidden from us. What happened to the transparency and accountabilty the slate of state-wide officers ran on? How this contract has been handled all along (I was never convinced the current team had a right to open a ratified contract and agree to furlough days) and the conduct of many at the Board meetings, don't walk the walk or talk the talk. What's going on here?

Re: Why so shy?

As a member who has been on the bargaining team (in the past) I've got to say it's one of the hardest engagements a member can undertake. The resistance from the other side is fierce, the details seem endless as we hammer out every word of every sentence day in and day out. Many things you are passionate about get jettisoned by group consensus. Vital language you worked on hour after hour gets thrown to the floor and trampled underfoot. But when the dust settles, you realize that things are a little better than they were before, or in this years case, they're not as horrible as they might have been, and you feel some sense of satisfaction. It is difficult when members challenge whether you did any good or not. They weren't there. They didn't sit through the meetings. They don't know how hard you fought or how much you care. Do they even know that all of our work for more than half the year was off the clock? I had a woman confront me and say "I just want to tell you that this is a horrible contract, you've accomplished nothing!" I was still trying to catch up on my sleep after all the wee hours bargaining we'd done, so I wasn't in the best of moods for this confrontation. I replied "Ok, I'll tell you what. You roll up your sleeves and help us, and I'll fully consider any criticisms you have.'
Much to my amazement, she soon volunteered to work on a very active committee and did a wonderful job! Thankfully, she never brought her complaints up again.
Ps - You know the members have to ratify the proposal, right? The bargaining team negotiates, but the members still make the final decision.

Scott's picture

Re: Why so shy?

Welcome.

I certainly won't argue that doing the work of the union is mostly a thankless job. I certainly agree that being a bargaining delegate cannot be easy. Any time you put the words "DAS" and "management" together, you're in for a fight.

It will be interesting to see what sort of a voter turnout we have for this ratification vote. I can't imagine that the current offer won't be sent to the membership. Will the numbers go up, or down, for this difficult bargaining year? I personally encourage every member to vote and have a say in their union!

__________________

Scott
—————
"An intractable problem can only be resolved by stepping beyond conventional solutions." — Ozymandias

Scott's picture

Re: Why so shy?

I haven't heard that anyone would be turned away. They just aren't being invited. It's never mentioned in person. The wording in the flyers, in the e-mails, and on the web site all are written as if only the delegates are attending.

I don't have an issue with only paying for a select few. That's just how these things work.

As far as bargaining, I'm not sure how our delegates don't have the right to bargain for us, including for furlough days. However, I've discussed how the bargaining was handled previously.

__________________

Scott
—————
"An intractable problem can only be resolved by stepping beyond conventional solutions." — Ozymandias

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