General Government Bargaining Team presents solid contract proposal to governor’s negotiators



General Government Bargaining Team on first day of negotiations with Gov. Inslee's team May 20.

General Government Bargaining Team on first day of negotiations with Gov. Inslee’s team May 20.

 

It seems the whole world is watching our Federation General Government Bargaining Team, which formally kicked off contract talks with Gov. Inslee’s negotiators Tuesday (May 20).

“Talks begin for new state worker contracts for pay in 2015-17,” said a blog headline from The Olympian (see: http://www.theolympian.com/2014/05/20/3141068/talks-begin-for-new-state-worker.html?sp=/99/101/112/123/)

That was the take in the mainstream press today.

But the anti-collective bargaining Washington Policy Center ran this headline: “Secret state budget talks start today – Governor makes early concession on salary costs” (see: http://www.washingtonpolicy.org/blog/post/secret-state-budget-talks-start-today-governor-makes-early-concession-salary-costs).

Ecology members traveled to the Thurston County Fairgrounds May 20 to thank their elected General Government bargainers.

Ecology members traveled to the Thurston County Fairgrounds May 20 to thank their elected General Government bargainers.

In reality, these significant contract negotiations kicked off today when the General Government Bargaining Team presented its initial proposed language for the collective bargaining agreement that would run from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017.

The initial package covers a range of non-economic issues from seniority protections to workplace behavior/workplace bullying, from due process at work to hours of work, from overtime to employee rights – and much more.

Compensation items will be presented at a later date when more information is available.

“We are quite optimistic about these negotiations,” Federation Executive Director Greg Devereux said in opening remarks when the governor’s team arrived for Day 1.

The General Government Bargaining Team.

The General Government Bargaining Team.

The initial proposal consists of new language that came from your bargaining proposals submitted last fall. Tuesday’s package also includes current contract language that the Federation team is not proposing to change.

The General Government team presented the initial proposal on the grounds of the Thurston County Fair in Lacey. The team explained the justification for each proposed change.

Overall, the initial proposal on non-economic items is a solid package that aims to recognize the value of those covered under the Federation General Government contract. The underlying goal is not that different from Goal 5 of the “Results Washington” good government initiative championed by Gov. Jay Inslee: to boost employee morale and job satisfaction and make the State of Washington the employer of choice for talented and qualified workers.

A strong contract helps promote that worthy goal because it values such things as protecting workers’ rights.

Tuesday was just the start of a summer’s worth of bargaining sessions.

What’s ahead in General Government:

• Keep the Green! The bargaining team is asking members to please wear an AFSCME Green shirt or any green shirt on the days of the next General Government Bargaining sessions – Wednesday, June 4, and Thursday, June 5 – to show that the contract matters all across the state. Those bargaining sessions will be held in the Davis-Williams Building, Fifth Floor Conference Room, 906 Columbia St., Olympia, WA  98501.

• The team is planning other possible contract events. Stay tuned here.

• The governor’s negotiators will continue their review of the Federation’s initial proposal and ask more questions at the next bargaining session, June 4-5. Then the management team will present and explain its initial contract language.

• The General Government Bargaining Team is scheduling a day or more to meet as a team and work on the package of economic articles it will present to management at a later date.

• A bargaining priorities survey is also being prepared – another way you can get feedback to the bargaining team.

• Speaking of feedback—

Here’s how you can get feedback and questions to the General Government Bargaining Team:

• The General Government Bargaining Team, like all of the Federation’s bargaining teams, has a dedicated webpage for regular updates and to contact the team. Go to wfse.org, click on COLLECTIVE BARGAINING in the green bar at the top of the page. That will give you a drop-down menu of all bargaining teams; you can scroll down to GENERAL GOVERNMENT to get the page with bargaining updates and the form to get questions to the bargaining team. (The direct URL is: http://www.wfse.org/collective-bargaining/general-government/)

• That webpage also has a link to sign up for e-mail updates on bargaining.

• You can also e-mail feedback and questions to contactus@wfse.org.

• For regular text updates on bargaining on your mobile devices, text GGBT to 69866.

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