We met for another full day of bargaining Thursday, April 8. This was the last session for either party to open any new articles.
Your Union Bargaining Team's collective summary of bargaining so far is that it has been too slow. For the last session, the Union showed up with proposals ready to share but management was not ready when they showed up. Management's team did not respond to the COLA, selectives or safety proposals we made at the last meetings and could not agree to any future bargaining dates until May 17, 2021. The Union has proposed 3.5% each year for 2 years (a 2 year contract) and the City has only put 1.5% per year for 3 years on the table. Not even close.
So while that is all frustrating, we were able to secure an improvement for part-timers and got Management to back off one of its proposals to restrict members' right to representation on work time. That is about it.
We are also excited to let you know that over 30 members have agreed to serve as your Member Action Team and they will help keep you all in the know throughout bargaining. The 2067 Member Action Team is meeting April 13 at the Union Hall (socially distanced, of course) to make plans for good outreach and bargaining updates and some group activities to show everyone's commitment to a fair contract this summer.
March 22, 2021
We bargained today for about 7.5 hours and made several key proposals that we know everyone cares about: Safety, Wages, Rights & Benefits.
The Union proposed a letter of agreement (LOA) with the City of Salem to immediately address the safety issues in two popular parks.
On COLA, President Kathy Knock proposed 3.5% each year for two years for a total of 7% over the next two years. We also proposed a two-year contract instead of a three-year contract. Kathy explained at the table that for over a year Salem employees have "pivoted, adapted and stepped up to keep the City moving forward." She reminded everyone at the table that "What we do here is a reflection of what we believe about them and what we (the Union) believe is that Heroes Work Here. Now is the time for the City to show up and step up for them. Thank you is not enough. It is time to pay and protect."
In addition to COLA, the Union also proposed a set of "Selectives" for positions that our out of alignment with their comps at other Oregon cities as well as internally here at Salem.
RIGHTS & BENEFITS
We proposed improvements for members in Articles 3, 4, 8, 10, 13 and 18.
Management is still maintaining some troubling proposals, most notably their proposal, which they have made twice now, to limit the amount of work time you can work with your Union Stewards on representation issues. The Union has won several significant arbitrations against the City recently (a termination and a big seniority case), which may be driving their interest in limiting your time with your Stewards.
Management has not offered a new wage proposal since it made a proposal for 1.5% a year for three years at our March 4 bargaining session. STAY TUNED.
Our next bargaining session will be April 8 and right afterward, YOU are invited to the April Membership Meeting where the main topic will be bargaining and the new contract we all need and deserve!
March 4, 2021
The first full day of bargaining the new contract started well and ended with a thud – They proposed cost-of-living adjustments that are HALF what other employee groups at the City will receive for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
After arguing for 4 hours in February, we managed to push back the attempts to limit who could participate on our team and get workable ground rules.
The Union opened three articles to improve employee protections and countered one City proposal, specifically:
Union Security – Ensuring a fully function Union Local.
Sick and Injury Leave – Seeking to raise our bereavement benefits to match what managers get and ensure that employees are not economically impacted by the Paid Medical Leave Act taking effect in January 2022.
Working Conditions/Safety – Adding language to provide pay, protective equipment and training to make sure employees can continue to provide essential City services.
Insurance Benefits – We proposed language to improve part-time employee insurance premium contributions, recognizing that many part-time employees spend half their paycheck on mandatory insurance premiums. We also proposed language to protect employee leave banks during the three-day Workers Compensation waiting period.
The City opened a total of 10 articles, including four related to employee compensation and benefits. They also countered two Union Proposals. Highlights:
Union Security – The City rejected making the contract language clearly consistent with the law and proposed a 250-hour annual cap on the amount of time Union stewards can spend defending you in contract violations.
Sick and Injury Leave – The City denied increases to the amount of bereavement leave and people covered by bereavement. They also were “not interested” in picking up the employee portion of the Paid Medical Leave contribution that will be required January 2022.