July 16, 2010

Furlough negotiations to enter fourth day

Nothing’s ever easy, especially when you’re fighting the ill-advised state furlough plan. Thursday’s (July 15) negotiations over the impacts of the furloughs ended with management requesting time to review the union’s third counterproposal. A fourth bargaining session will be scheduled. We’ll let you know when that is.

The bargaining is at a delicate point so we don’t want to say too much that would paint anyone into a corner when the goal is to get a fair settlement. But it’s safe to say the union team is fighting for an agreement that, among other things, addresses the inequities faced by those with alternate work schedules. For instance, those who work four 10-hour days lose 10 hours of pay on a furlough day. Those working straight 8-hour days lose two hours less. It’s one of those situations where many members may have moved to a 4-10 or other alternate schedule to help the state meet its commute trip reduction goals to keep cars off the road. Now those employees are getting whipsawed by furloughs.

Your team is also adamant about protecting your rights to seek the best avenue for retroactive justice—the lawsuit, unfair labor practice complaint and grievance filed by the Federation. A judge blocked the union’s motion to immediately freeze the furloughs. So those furloughs will take place – for the time being – as well as the union’s lawsuit. No date has been set for trial.

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