The Bargaining Team's Latest Plan

Scott's picture

On Sunday, February 8th, 2009 there was a Bargaining Conference in Eugene.

Reports indicate that the topic of why we didn't take the initial offer put out by the Governor's office was not given much coverage. The primary answer was that until we have a ratified contract, DAS can pull out of even a Tentative Agreement. And the Bargaining Team felt that they thought DAS would pull out.

The biggest portion of the gathering appears to have been taken up with a rather heated discussion concerning a new plan the Bargaining Team wanted to pursue. The biggest point of the plan seems to be that they want to lure DAS back to the bargaining table for a quick resolution by offering them two unpaid furlough days this biennium! That would be two unpaid days by June 30th, 2009 for those of you who might want to do the math.

This didn't seem to go over well. It even prompted one member present to ask, "which staff member came up with this idea?[sic]"  The multiple answers that followed neither answered the question, nor rang with any hint of truth. For those who may not know, the staff member referenced would be Executive Director Leslie Frane.

Now, today, more details come out. The current plan that they are trying to garner support for includes:

  • Keeping healthcare
  • Two unpaid furlough days this biennium
  • Six unpaid furlough days over the next biennium (2009-11)
  • Some option to allow us to get everything back at some future date when everything is roses

Although the information received didn't specify it, it is safe to assume that there will be no COLAs. It's unclear whether step increases would be included. With the current stance taken in OUS bargaining, it seems unlikely that step increases will be on the table when DAS does come back to the bargaining table. So far there has been no e-mail announcement sent out to the general membership with details of this plan.

Edit: Here are the DAS Bargaining Team members, for anyone who would like to know:

  • Kermit Meling, ODOT
  • Bill Kinyoun, ODFW
  • Dan Ferguson, OYA
  • Dan Smith, OSH
  • Karen Miller, DHS
  • Rob Sisk, DAS
  • Trish Lutgen, Education
  • Theresa Arndt, Employment
  • Donna Glathar, SEIU
  • Leslie Frane, SEIU
  • Heather Conroy, SEIU
Scott's picture

Re: The Bargaining Team's Latest Plan

Now for some personal thoughts on this.

First, unlike with the original offer DAS put on the table, I wasn't contacted to help guage support for the Bargaining Team's plan. Along with their behavior at the conference last weekend, it seems that the Bargaining Team is very unsure about being able to gather support for this. If they asked me, I'd have an actual opinion of my own. They want, and need, only positive response so that the masses can be lulled into accepting this. If they can say that everyone they spoke to was overwhelmingly for this deal, then the majority of members will think it's a great thing. Is anyone surprised that they haven't sent out a general e-mail giving details? I'm not!

Second, lying about who came up with furlough days for this biennium just makes the entire Bargaining Team look like idiots. If we can't trust them to even answer a simple question (with an obvious answer) then how can we logically put our trust in them to look out for the best interest of all the members? 

Don't forget the previous lie about why they didn't jump on the original offer. If they were so concerned about DAS pulling the offer, then why all the fuss about whether the members thought we should take the deal or not? And so quickly? This is a clear case of using hindsight as an excuse. Even if DAS can pull out of a Tentative Agreement, it would look much worse for them to do so and would have strengthened our position for further bargaining.

Third, Leslie drives a lot of activity at the 503. As Executive Director that is completely appropriate, in some areas. Bargaining our contract should not be one of those. Participation is fine, but it should be the whole team. Something so obviously not supported by all of the team as the plan presented should never have seen the light-of-day.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that bargaining the contract is easy. (If you want me to see how hard it is, just write me in on the ballot for 2011-13.) I'm also not saying that there aren't compromises--hard compromises--that may need to be made. However, in a team, despite the fact that everyone will not get exactly what they want, there will be some level of consensus that everyone can support. When an individual makes all of the decisions either you are up-front where the decisions came from, or you get insincere, poorly handled sales pitch the conference attendees were given.

Scott's picture

Re: The Bargaining Team's Latest Plan

Now, about that plan...

I want to announce that I DO NOT support the Bargaining Team's current proposal! I urge ALL members to stand with me in demanding that Bargaining Team look out for OUR best interests, not management's!

Doesn't offering furlough days for this biennium smell of breach-of-contract? It certainly is a breach-of-trust! DAS didn't even put in writing what the exact ramifications of furlough days was for the next contract. Imagine what they could do with it under our current contract. It would be easy for them to reduce vacation and sick leave accruals for the unpaid time. It's a crime to try and foist this off on the membership.

If you have to talk about furlough days this biennium as some sort of offer, lets talk about volunteering. Volunteer furlough days are already covered in the contract. Make an offer to ask the members to take voluntary time off. I know it wouldn't be nearly as much as mandatory time for everyone. I also know that there are people who would willingly take the time off if it would truly make a difference in the bargaining.

I feel a little like the airline pilots a few years back. They took pay cuts, reduced benefits, you name it. All to work with management to reduce costs to keep the airlines running, and keep people employed. What did the airline executives do? They turned around and gave themselves giant bonuses for a job-well-done!

Even with our current contract, we had to do some tough negotiating to get what we have. That was during a good economic outlook. So we had to struggle because management says we already make enough money. As soon as the contract is ratified, they turn around and give the Executive Managers, all 2400+ of them, large raises. They're all underpaid you know! And we have to pay them more so we can retain such great talent!

In such trying economic times, I'm sure it would be even more important to retain these great Executive Managers. If we did take furlough days this biennium, I could easily see it funding raises for the elite again. Don't worry, they'll still be able to balance the budget for the biennium with the layoffs.