City Bargaining Tactics:
After the Union and Employer spend some time making various proposals and counter proposals, engage in discussions and have a thorough understanding of the pros and cons of proposal, a strategy to move toward a final agreement is the “packaging” of proposals. That is, putting certain proposals together in order to achieve some give and take in an “all or nothing” proposal. Usually, these proposals are made toward the end of bargaining and are of workable sizes.
Thus far, the City has insisted on including every open Article in an “all or nothing” package resulting in a package that is large, complex and prevents us from narrowing the scope of dispute and moving toward an agreement.
Union Attempts at Progress
We have requested several times to remove the less controversial items from your package and explore reaching agreement outside of the package offer, with no success.
• On March 2, we suggested that we enter mediation.
• The City not only rejected our suggestion to mediate, but countered with a suggestion that we cease all bargaining for an unspecified duration.
• On March 16 we offered a conceptual proposal to handle Health Care with the other impacted City Unions. Additionally, we narrowed the things we were asking for to some key and essential items. This was also rejected.
Health Care Proposal
The City has proposed a “Rewards” Plan at which the City will pay 95% of the cost, the employee will pay 5%, as well as a “Standard” Plan which will be at an 85%/15% split. We have several issues with the City’s Health Care proposal:
• City has proposed removing the contractual requirement for providing domestic partner benefits.
• City has proposed increasing the premium share for part-time employees.
• City is unable to definitively articulate the plan designs or what level of benefits will be provided with each plan.
• City is unable to definitively state what actions need to be taken in order to participate in the higher level “Rewards” Plan.
• City is unable to provide a definitive cost to the employees for each of the plans. A loose projection of these costs will be available in 6 to 8 weeks.
• The City does not want to discuss potential plan design across the bargaining table.
FLSA Exempt Employees
Based on input from employees, we have proposed moving eliminating “hour for hour” comp time in exchange for Partial Day Absences and Management Leave. Despite the fact that this is a benefit available to all other FLSA exempt employees at the City, and would give significant discretion to management, the City has rejected our proposals.
Equity and Justice
We are disheartened by the City rejection of, and refusal to discuss our proposals regarding equity and justice.
• We believed our proposal to add “deep classification” status to classifications would help increase equity by widening the potential pool of applicants and allowing the City to develop employees from within.
• Our proposal for a language differential would underscore the value of employees with diverse cultural backgrounds.
• The City is refusing to discuss our proposals to expand the City’s Fair Wage policy to employees providing services to our community.
• The City is refusing to discuss our proposal to increase housing equity by reducing the amount of “no cause” evictions.
Cost of Living Allowance
Finally, adding insult to injury it the City’s threat to withhold any retro active cost of living increase unless we accept the City’s package offer by July 1. It is the height of hypocrisy to insist upon unacceptable proposals, refuse to discuss matters the Union finds important, and reject creative measures to move toward an agreement, while making such threats. We are scheduled to meet again on March 30.