October 25, 2010

Furlough bargaining this week in DOC, DSHS

Bargaining on furloughs tied to the governor’s 6.3 percent cuts starts today in Corrections and resumes Wednesday in DSHS.

DOC:  In the Department of Corrections, the management proposal appears to be one additional furlough day with those previously exempt now furlough eligible. But we need to see the formal management proposal at the table.

DSHS:  In DSHS, nothing has happened since management walked away from the table Oct. 7. Rumors may be flying and you may be seeing nasty things on the internal DSHS online message boards and you may see confusing statements from management. But the truth is, there is no agreement on additional furlough days because management walked away from the table. As we said before, your dedicated Federation team worked three long days to try to get an agreement. But it was management that pulled up and walked out. Any uncertainty, any confusion is caused by management’s action, not the union’s. If you hear otherwise, it’s a lie.

But having said that, negotiations in DSHS resume this Wednesday with DSHS Secretary Susan Dreyfus agreeing to personally sit at the table. Secretary Dreyfus agreed to hands-on negotiations after Federation Executive Director Greg Devereux wrote her a letter Oct. 15.

Devereux said the goals Dreyfus had laid out to Devereux and Federation President Carol Dotlich on furloughs “may have been thwarted” by management representatives at the table.

“We too want sound plans and agreements that are flexible and not administratively burdensome, and we came to the table with exactly that intent,” Devereux wrote. “But when we asked reasonable questions and provided information to support our positions, the LRO and your delegation left negotiations and management representatives started to malign the union."

So, it’s hoped that Dreyfus’s presence will lead to quicker and more productive negotiations. We’ll keep you updated.

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