Stop Them Before They (Kill) Bargain Again!

Scott's picture

Before I was forced to take some time off for a personal emergency, we were on-track to signing a tentative agreement that, while not perfect, was far better than I had ever expected we could negotiate for the coming biennium. Now, upon my return, I discover that DAS "made a mistake." The offer is off the table, and a new one, with 10 mandatory furlough days, sits in its place. What happened?!!?

Let's look at the management side of things first. DAS making a mistake is nothing new; management making a mistake is nothing new! It's also another prime example of the fact that we cannot trust management to negotiate, or act in any way, in good faith in relation to labor.

And then there's our bargaining team. What part of, "take the deal!" didn't they understand? We told them this over 2 weeks ago! Apparently they didn't hear us. Or maybe they were just too greedy trying to get more, more, and more! I'm sorry, a wage re-opener in the 2nd year, or a classification study, just are not worth jeopardizing OUR contract!

How easy should this have been?

  1. DAS makes an offer for everything but COLAs, and no furlough days
  2. Members respond quickly (like in one day) that it's a good deal
  3. We start to sign, an djust before finishing the last signature say, "Here's a list of some other stuff we'd like. Does any of this seem reasonable?" As soon as management starts to go, "Well...," FINISH SIGNING THE TENTATIVE AGREEMENT!

I'm sure that not all of our bargaining delegates are to blame for this complete SNAFU. After all, it only takes 1, or 2, to completely screw things up for everyone.

So now we've got no COLAs for the biennium. Add in a 1.9% pay cut for the mandatory furlough days. If we don't move now, we're going to bargain ourselves right out of our step increases and health care. I don't know about you, but I can't afford another pay cut on top of what we've already earned ourselves.

I can hear some of you say, "But, we'll save jobs by this way." I've got news for you. The layoffs are already here! They were coming whether we signed an agreement or not!  Let the bumping wars begin!

And now a message for those people I've heard, and heard of, who think we're going to bargain our way out of the furlough days: GET A CLUE!!! We're past that point! We blew it!

The same goes for those people who think some Federal bailout is going to make everything all right again. Those funds will be put to use elsewhere. Remember, management already told us that we're overpaid, and that was last contract when the economy was good.

What Now?

Now we need to do damage control. I have a short list of things that I think we should be bargaining for:

  • Ask for 8 furlough days, not 10 -- that's what the Governor proposed.
  • Management gets the same furlough as represented staff -- what's good for the goose is good for the gander. This one I do agree with the bargaining team on.
  • Sitewide furlough days; furloughs are scheduled for all staff at a site for the same day -- this not only meets the need to reduce staffing costs, it also reduces facilities costs, state vehicle use, etc. That's just good stewardship of the public's funds. Besides, since we're going to get the shaft on furlough days we may as well make as cost effective as possible.
  • Furlough days are the employee's time. The state has no right, or ability to require an employee to be available for work. -- I'm sure we all know those staff who management treat like they're always on duty, without pay. On vacation? You better be sitting by the phone to take our call and work for free! If you don't, you'll pay for it later!

What do YOU think?


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

Scott's picture

Re: Stop Them Before They (Kill) Bargain Again!

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few days you've probably heard the news: there is no deal on the table currently, good, bad, or otherwise.

DAS has pulled even the furlough day offer. Even worse, they admitted that they don't have any direction on how to proceed currently. When an anti-labor person like Eva Corbin will admit that management doesn't have a clue what to do, that's saying something.

Which brings us back to the original question of, "Why didn't we act on the original offer?!?" Maybe someone will answer that question at the bargaining meeting this Sunday in Eugene. But I won't hold my breath waiting for that answer.


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