Unfortunately, it’s management. There are two major issues holding up the overall settlement of our agreements.
1. Reclasses, Upgrades & New Steps
Everyone knows the overall pattern of across-the-board increases is 2.25% retroactive to January 1, 2011 and 3.75% effective June 1, 2012 with another contract expiration on November 30, 2012.
However, within those overall settlements, the County has also negotiated reclasses, upgrades and new steps for other Unions. We will not be treated any differently than other Unions.
We have been consistently asking for information on reclasses, upgrades and new steps from management. Management has promised a current list of all employees and what amount of dollars is available for reclasses, upgrades and new steps. However, they have not given that to us yet. If we were to try to settle without that, we know that the membership would vote such an offer down.
The single biggest issue we hear from membership is what about reclasses, upgrades and new steps. We are working hard to address this now.
2. Unfair Layoffs Which Violate Seniority: Next Time It Could Be You
There have been extremely unfair layoffs on the Corporate side and in the Hospital. The President’s office eliminated nearly the entire Purchasing Department, 4 from the Highway Department, 3 members in the Law Library, and absolutely refuses to allow those laid off members to bump into any equivalent vacancies or positions.
Examples of Hospital layoffs include the Respiratory Care Department, where suddenly without notice the Hospital lays off members who have a different level of certification out of seniority. The classification is in the same grade and the job description makes no distinction or requirement that the employee receive a higher level of seniority status based on certification.
The battle for the Mental Health Specialist IIs and Seniors is a huge battle as well. The Director seems to be hell bent on getting rid of MHS IIs and Seniors even while Sheriff Tom Dart is stating that the County Jail is a “large mental ward.” Given the cut backs in mental health care, he is absolutely right. We need everyone working.
We need to remember, what affects one of us can eventually affect all of us. We want to draw this negotiation to a close, but only if we get a fair deal.