April 15, 2011

Important agreement on layoff rights in DSHS reached

The Federation and DSHS on April 13 reached agreement on immediate implementation of the expanded layoff rights we gained at the General Government bargaining table for the 2011-2013 contract. Under that agreement, those provisions will take effect now in DSHS, not when the new contract goes into effect July 1. 

Here’s a report from Debby Lippincott, Federation labor advocate: 

Specifically, we agreed to implement the newly negotiated General Government master contract language regarding an employee’s ability to request that they be offered lower-level positions within their classification series even if they had not held permanent status in the lower-level position and for contiguous counties to be added as layoff options. 

During the Maple Lane closure demand to bargain process, the union committee proposed that the improved layoff rights gained in the 2011-2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement be extended to the Maple Lane employees impacted by the proposed closure of their facility.

A factor that we considered when formulating this proposal is that when a facility closes there is little likelihood of ever being recalled to work in their home county. The new contract language increases the likelihood of remaining closer to home when displaced.

We have been engaged in negotiations with LRO and DSHS since last fall over the proposed closure of Maple Lane School.  A couple of weeks ago Patty Erhardt, Maple Lane Local 1926 president, and I met with Ann Mitchell, LRO, and Glen Christopherson, DSHS. They proposed expanding the rights to Maple Lane employees if we agree that it would be implemented at the same time for all of DSHS. 

Since this would have DSHS-wide impact, Federation President Carol Dotlich and Vice President Sue Henricksen felt strongly that we needed the input from the DSHS representatives of the 2011-2013 General Government Bargaining Committee.  On short notice Carol Dotlich, Craig Gibelyou, Steven Segall, Ron Mullins, Ken Blair and Gabe Hall made themselves available for bargaining today.  Patty Erhardt, Craig Larson and Michelle Davis, the original Maple Lane School DTB committee, were also present.

Our committee’s insight, experience and steadfast commitment to doing the right thing were invaluable in reaching this agreement. 

One piece of this agreement that is especially important to note is that if a DSHS employee has received their formal options and would like to have them re-done in accordance with the MOU, they must notify their HRD human resource manager or consultant in writing by April 21, 2011. If they are satisfied with the formal options they received they do not need to take any action.

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