Catholics and Unions


#1

Big Union meeting was held today at lunch, and your’s truly did her Dorothy Day impression trying to get the clerical staff fired up before I have to leave them to go get the knee replaced. I am not much of a Norma Rae, but this is the toughest negotiations I have seen in almost 20 years of county employment. The management offer? 0% increase the first year, 0% increase the second year and 1% increase the third year. Our counter offer? 4%, 4% and 6%. Gee, think we have a ways to go with our negotiations?
The good news is, of course, we all have jobs. The bad news is no one wants a strike, everyone has families to support and no one relishes the idea of walking a picket line. And of course there is the usual bad publicity that comes with being a civil servant. We are usually portrayed as being lazy, no accounts who suck off the taxes of the public and get a lot of benefits and wouldn’t survive in the real world. And it doesn’t help that there is a lot of government waste, that everyone has horror stories of having to deal with a lazy, incompetent government employee and that so many of our programs are offered to the segment of the population that are such a drain on the rest of society.
So, being the shop steward for this particular site, I did my best to fire up the troops and urge them to stand tough, to do their jobs with dignity and with their heads held high. They are hard workers and worth the pay they are getting. Meanwhile, I asked our negotiating team to keep me informed. Next Wednesday is my last day of work until April 29 and it sure would be nice to have a good contract to come back to instead of my place on a picket line…keep us in your prayers!


#2

[quote=LSK]Big Union meeting was held today at lunch, and your’s truly did her Dorothy Day impression trying to get the clerical staff fired up before I have to leave them to go get the knee replaced. I am not much of a Norma Rae, but this is the toughest negotiations I have seen in almost 20 years of county employment. The management offer? 0% increase the first year, 0% increase the second year and 1% increase the third year. Our counter offer? 4%, 4% and 6%. Gee, think we have a ways to go with our negotiations?
The good news is, of course, we all have jobs. The bad news is no one wants a strike, everyone has families to support and no one relishes the idea of walking a picket line. And of course there is the usual bad publicity that comes with being a civil servant. We are usually portrayed as being lazy, no accounts who suck off the taxes of the public and get a lot of benefits and wouldn’t survive in the real world. And it doesn’t help that there is a lot of government waste, that everyone has horror stories of having to deal with a lazy, incompetent government employee and that so many of our programs are offered to the segment of the population that are such a drain on the rest of society.
So, being the shop steward for this particular site, I did my best to fire up the troops and urge them to stand tough, to do their jobs with dignity and with their heads held high. They are hard workers and worth the pay they are getting. Meanwhile, I asked our negotiating team to keep me informed. Next Wednesday is my last day of work until April 29 and it sure would be nice to have a good contract to come back to instead of my place on a picket line…keep us in your prayers!
[/quote]

Aww, you don’t want to come back to work and give the knee a test on the picket line?:wink: Prayers for your surgery, recovery, job and everything!


#3

Maybe I could be given the bull horn and a really big chair?

:hmmm:

nah…you know me…I’d would NOT be able to sit still for long…
:rotfl:

Thanks for the prayers! I am really hoping we do NOT have to strike…we have people with families and lots of single parents…they deserve decent wages and no strike.


#4

You aren’t going to like this, but…

4%, 4%, 6% seems rather excessive to me. It’s well beyond the inflation rate. Do you expect your members to become more productive over the next three years, or just paid more for doing the same thing?

Secondly, you said nothing about benefits. Do your members have health benefits? If they do (and as unionized public employees, I’ll bet dollars to donuts they do have benefits!), the cost of those benefits is going up – rapidly! Are you being asked to assume a larger share of that cost?

If I were arbitrating this, I would look for a settlement at something around the rate of inflation – considering all aspects of compensation (e.g., including the cost of benefits). If the county goes beyond that, they’re going to have significant problems making a budget, which is likely to lead to reduced services and/or a reduced number of employees. Do you want that? Keep in mind, you’re in California, and counties can’t just raise taxes willy-nilly to meet higher budget costs. You all saw to that.

0%, 0%, 1% is not a reasonable offer. Neither is 4%, 4%, 6%. This is what happens when negotiations are seen as a contest between enemies, a negotiation conducted by folks whose goal is “to win,” rather than to achieve anything equitable.

I agree that prayer is called for. Pray for cool heads and honesty on both sides. Encourage your side to lead, rather than “playing the game.”


#5

We didn’t expect our offer to be accepted…the idea of the negotiations is that they make and offer, we make one, they make another and back and forth and then we come up with something that is reasonable…so you start high and eventually meet in the middle. This time there has been no movement on managment’s part at all from their initial offer. Not a good sign and the first time that has happenned in my 20 years here.

We do have benefits: health care and a pension. Both are being threatenned this time around. The union is willing to give up a lot on health care because there is not a lot to negotiate in that area. Costs are rising, and plans are more expensive. It is what it is and the membership knows that.I don’t expect any new contract not to reflect rising health care costs.

BUT that means managment needs to give up some too…no raises! Let those bonuses go! Let that long term care insurance go (we have to pay for our own if we want it)! What is good for the peons is good for the upper echelon in terms of tightenning the belts.

Counties have raised taxes by individual County pretty steadily in the past few years…however, the state has come in and taken the money so the fact that we have a solid tax base, more housing, higher population and so, more money, has not translated into much. The biggest problem is that Health Services is not a money maker like other county departments…and because county government has too much waste. We have management going on big retreats, we have ‘news media experts’ being hired by the board of supervisors for each department at 150k a year with benefits, we have lousy funds managment and other problems too numerous to mention here.

While rank and file is all for tightening up the belts we need to know that EVERYONE’S belt is being tightenned, not just our’s.

So keep us in your prayers. The worst thing that could happen right now is that the clerical and administration people go on an ‘indoor strike’…in other words, we work only according to what is outlined in our contract. No extras at all…no showing up early and staying late without pay…no going the extra mile and not taking breaks or lunch in order to get work done on time…no working out of class…the place would grind to a standstill.


#6

LSK:

I hope things work out well for you vis a vis these negotiations. But I am here to tell you that my husband, who works for a large, internationally known company, has not had a raise since 1999. And has lost his pension. And bonuses. I’d fight hardest for the pensions. That was the biggest blow to us.


#7

Good luck

I am a county employee and I wish our union fought for us. All they do is take our dues and give them to pro-abortion democrats. After eight years, I decided to give myself a raise by trying to find a better job. I wouldnt count on our union for anything.


#8

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