Tacoma Joint Labor Update
As most of you know, Tacoma Joint Labor is a coalition of unions that bargains your health and welfare plans. This committee is comprised of Teamsters 117, Teamsters 313, IBEW 483, IPT 17 and AFSME.
Bargaining has been ongoing for a number of months, and the unions continue to fight to maintain and improve the level of benefits members of Tacoma labor unions receive.
To date, bargaining has been somewhat contentious and focused on language; however, moving forward we will be discussing the cost and design of our health plans, and the design and implementation of a wellness program. Some changes will be driven by the Affordable Care Act.
Tacoma Budget and Economic Overview
The City reports that its financial condition is improving. Unemployment is down, job growth across most sectors is improving, housing is rebounding, personal income is increasing, and interest rates remain low.
The City conducted a survey intended to identify quality and priority of city services and which programs should receive funding priority. The good news is that there is an added emphasis on street and ground maintenance; in fact, in a council-created budget exercise (subject to change throughout the budgeting process), the concerns of the council are that public works should receive a 15% increase in funding and more money should be allocated to maintenance that has been deferred.
Further, in 2014 the City has created a dedicated street maintenance fund, which shall be financed by redirecting 2% of the utility tax revenue into the maintenance fund.
The City will be seeking further comment on the budget through July. I would strongly encourage members to contact the council and tell them to fully fund public works.
General Government Bargaining
I have reviewed the surveys, grievances, and emails received from many of you and comments from the stewards and have drafted proposals based on the information received. It is my hope that we will begin the bargaining process sometime in July.
As we fight to improve your wages, benefits and working conditions, the proposed changes are extensive and I am anticipating a difficult bargaining cycle. It will take solidarity by the membership to achieve a fair agreement. If you have any additional information that you would like to see included in the proposal, please contact your Shop Steward. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for all that you do and your outstanding service to the citizens of our community.