Latest Bargaining Update

Scott's picture

Breaking News!!!

I'm sure many of you will be hearing this soon. I just got off a call regarding the latest bargaining update. Management has come back with a so-called proposal:

  • No step increases
    • Assume no COLA still
  • No paid holidays except for Veterans' Day (that's 9 days without pay each year)
  • 26(!!!!!) unpaid furlough days
    • 2 of these days are to be taken before the end of the biennium
  • No word on health care. The way management is dealing I would not assume that they intend to fully cover it
  • No word on how these unpaid days affect leave accrual. Again, I would not assume that they intend to give us accrual for sick leave or vacation.

This is astronomical! The 2 furlough days this biennium is not unexpected. However, a total of 42 unpaid days over the next biennium is outrageous!!! It wasn't mentioned, so again it's not safe to assume, but perhaps they intend that the holidays would be taken as furlough days. That only leaves an additional 3 furlough days per year.

However they do the math, it's a bad offer. If it's the lesser, 12 days a year variant, that's a 4.6% pay cut. My bet is that they want the full 21 days a year which adds up to an astounding 8.1% pay cut!

How many exclamation points can we use in one article!!!!!!!

This offer completely ignores the idea of a tiered approach to furlough days. Those making the least, who will be most impacted, would have less days. Those at the top of the pay scale would have more days. That's exactly what the Governor mandated for Executive Staff and Management throughout the state for the rest of this biennium.

The Bargaining Team is outraged at this offer, as am I! When the Governor mandates this deal for Exutive Staff and Management, then I'll start to listen. Let them lead the way once more!

In the meantime, keep listening for local updates. Purple up! Join the march on upper management!

Scott's picture

Re: Latest Bargaining Update

Just as a reminder for those who may have gone into shock over this deal. This does not stop the layofffs!!! They are still in the works. There will be more coming as the budget outlook deteriorates over the next quarter.

There's a quick analysis of why furlough days won't save jobs you might want to check out.

Scott's picture

Re: Latest Bargaining Update

Just a quick note that the details given by our Central Table Bargaining Team does not exactly match what has been reported by, say, the Statesman Journal. With the lack of bargaining and good faith shown so far, I'll stick with the even bleaker picture presented over the phone last night.

Scott's picture

Re: Latest Bargaining Update

The following is what went out this morning in e-mail to members:

As we anticipated after the Governor's announcement rolling back managers' raises last week, we are no longer on a course for an early settlement.

Our last proposal two weeks ago was a good-faith attempt to step to the plate and share the sacrifice needed to close the state's enormous budget shortfall.

Our bargaining team is profoundly outraged and disappointed that, instead of accepting our proposal, the Governor has responded with a demand for deeper and unreasonable cuts.

The state's counterproposal amounts to a 4.6% annual pay cut. The proposal includes:

  • 26 furlough days for ALL members:
    • No holiday pay on 15 paid holidays
    • 11 furlough days on prescribed days, including two this biennium (resulting in more furlough days than some managers in this biennium)s
  • Elimination of the 10th step
  • Full step freeze
  • All economic terms, including health care, would be in jeopardy through a re-opener that could be initiated by either party

What's next?

We need to share our outrage with the state. As we said in our press conference two weeks ago, in the worst economic crisis of our lifetime there is a need for shared sacrifice. But cuts this deep are neither balanced nor fair. They put our ability to deliver quality services at risk. That's why this Thursday we are organizing a statewide action to show the State just how outrageous we feel this proposal is.

At noon, where possible, and at alternate times where necessary, we are organizing delegations to the highest level managers in our worksites to tell them what we think of this proposal and asking them to relay our thoughts to their Director or Agency head. If your manager is not on site, then please organize a group to call her or him via speakerphone to deliver the message.

Secondly, we will be emailing Agency heads (on our breaks and lunches) with the same message – just in case it doesn't make its way there!

Talk to your union steward or organizer to get the details on the action in your workplace.

Our next bargaining is scheduled for Monday 3/9 & 10.


Scott's picture

Re: Latest Bargaining Update

This obviously does not match what was communicated just last night. It is difficult to decide which version to believe. I'm more inclined to go with the worse-case option. After all, as previously noted on this site, there really is no way that we can possibly offer enough to fix the budget woes.

Looking at the proposal as stated in the e-mail:

  • Why furlough on 15 holiday days? We have the same holidays each year, so logically, any number presented should be an even number. Perhaps they mean to take all 10 days the first year, and only 5 the second. There's nothing stated that leads me to believe that they'll split the furlough up evenly.
    • Worst case, that's 10 holidays, plus 9 other days in the first year. With 19 furlough days in a year, you are looking at a 7.3% pay cut. Of course that leaves only a 1.9% cut the second year.
    • Even more bad news--there's no mention that our leave accrual, etc. is protected like it is for the managers taking furlough for this biennium.
  • Eliminating the 10th step is like minting money. We'll never get it back, leaving all of those people who are stuck at the top of their pay scale right where they are. How many members are already in a permanent pay freeze?
    • If we're going to eliminate the 10th step, let's eliminate the reason it was given: the exorbitant pay increase for excutive management shortly after we ratified the 2007-09 contract.
  • The step freeze was kind of a given. Did anyone think we wouldn't have a freeze for both years?
  • And the final kick while we're down--let's add a re-opener so we can take even more for the second year of the contract. They're just trying to mollify us by letting the union re-open discussions as well. With the way state finances cycle, there won't be any money until 2011, even if we are recovering.
    • Bad case, they've already planned how they're going to take our health care in 2010.
    • Worse case, they're planning to come back and ask for more, including our health care now. Then they'll come back for the rest of the health care in 2010.
    • Even more bad news--don't forget the uneven furlough option presented above. This is where they can crank those furlough days back up to 21 for the second year as well; or worse.

I still maintain that we are not bargaining in good faith, nor even bargaining. If we say, "no," I feel fairly certain that the Governor is going to make a mandate that we'll take what he gives us. And if we say, "yes," we'll be giving far more than what they've put into this proposal.

So PURPLE UP!!! March on Management!!!

To quote Peter Finch's famous line in Network: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

Scott's picture

Re: Latest Bargaining Update

On a lighter note, it's absolutely fabulous thinking about how the management bargaining representatives must be soiling themselves! Imagine if you had to consider how badly you were going to hurt yourself by "bargaining" what the Governor is asking.

Scott's picture

Re: Latest Bargaining Update

A legislative panel met today. They've eased some cuts, but obviously can't eliminate much. I did pick up on this cheery comment:

Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, has said the projected 2009-11 gap between income and services — now at $3 billion — could grow to $5 billion before Oregon’s economy turns around and produces more in tax collections and lottery proceeds.

OK, I lied. It wasn't cheery. So elect me Governor.

Scott's picture

Re: Latest Bargaining Update

There's some additional information available from today's actions regarding the current proposal. Apparently there is something in writing.

  • Leave accrual is protected. We won't lose vacation, sick leave, etc. because of the unpaid furlough days.
  • In any month with more than one holiday, only one will be taken as an unpaid furlough day.

This still leaves us completely vulnerable to taht second year re-opener. All of this could change when, not if, management calls for it.

And none of this addresses our lowest paid members. There's no tiered cuts in the proposal. Management cuts for this biennium have a tiered system. This means that some managers will have less furlough time than their staff.

It would be interesting to hear how the various actions went today. The one I attended was not attended nearly as well as I would have liked. We also weren't able to speak with the Agency Director. We were well received by the Chief Administrative Officer. I hope that he does pass our message on to the Director.

What message? Ask the Governor to come back to the table and bargain in good faith!



Re: Latest Bargaining Update

This is one of the best Union Blogs I have run across. If you are a Union member I would be willing to bet that your paid SEIU staff does not hold you in high regard. I run a blog myself and I hope I can serve my brothers and sisters as well as you serve yours. Your site is serving your members in the best way,you are giving them information. Members must then make up their own minds on how to proceed, activist, or apathy. In Maine we are bargaining and like 503 Human Resources just hired one of our most experienced field reps, one who knows some of our plans for this year. In Maine we get nearly nothing out of our bargaining team, and I am one of them. The teams are encouraged by staff to keep everything close to the chest until TAs have been signed. Another reason is that out of ten thousand members we are lucky to get 30 to 50 members interested in being on a committee. Your post on the HR raid on staff inspired a very similar one of my own that I will be running shortly. Thanks for the inspiration although the feeling of Deja Vu was creepy. Our health has always been 100% for the employee and 60% for the family. The legislature wants to raise that by $1000.00 a year. Health care is under assault, and our HR department has not yet dropped the bombs many of us expect to see. The parallels between 503 and 1989 are shocking. The EFCA may pass this summer and until then you can be certain that every force against labor will be trying to take everything they can get. In Maine the Republicans are rabidly against "revenue increases" which they call taxes, yet they want to cut State employee health care, stop raises, give furloughs, and lay offs. No one will be surprised to see them offer furlough days. We would trade furloughs for saving jobs or benefits but they want the furloughs and the cuts. They want US to share the sacrifice, yet the bills that would have State Employees pay more for their health are exempt our legislature.
In Solidarity
Thomas Maher (NarsBars)

Scott's picture

Re: Latest Bargaining Update

Thanks for the encouragement! We'll work hard to keep up the good work!