I wanted to share with you some fantastic news.
Yesterday afternoon, after multiple discussions with the Governor’s office and OFM, I am proud to inform you that we have successfully secured interest arbitration rights for Teamster correctional employees for the remainder of the 2015-2017 contract cycle.
This is a major achievement. We now have the right to resolve disputes over mandatory subjects of bargaining that arise in negotiations with the State by bringing our issues to a neutral, third-party arbitrator.
Interest arbitration will provide us with a powerful tool as we engage in collective bargaining with the State over our 2017-2019 contract starting this summer. It will also enable us to address other critical issues that arise throughout the term of our 2015-2017 collective bargaining agreement.
For an example of the power this gives us as Teamsters, you can look no further than our last contract cycle.
With interest arbitration achieved through an agreement signed in 2014, we were able to win a 9.8% wage increase over two years - one of the highest increases of all state employees. This compares to a 4.5% increase, which the State presented to us in its last offer. Importantly, this 9.8% arbitration Award was funded by the Legislature in large part because of the incredible work that you all did to seal the deal.
But our 2014 agreement expired on June 30, 2015 and until yesterday, we were headed into contract negotiations without access to the interest arbitration process.
So what happened? You and your co-workers stood up and spoke out together. You demonstrated your collective power, participated in your Union, and made your voices heard.
It is no coincidence that this victory coincides with our DOC Lobby Day, a day when so many DOC Teamsters and their families met with legislators to discuss the critical issues we face in the workplace. Our collective voice is becoming increasingly powerful. And we’re being heard.
It is also a testament to our incredibly dedicated representational staff that works tirelessly to ensure that your rights under your contract are protected, along with the strength of our political and legal departments.
In the end, it’s about our collective power as Teamsters. When we stand up together, have each other’s backs, and speak with one voice, we can build a better future for ourselves and our families.
You can view our interest arbitration agreement online here. Thank you for the incredible work you do to serve and protect our communities, and thank you for your membership to Teamsters 117.