After several months of bargaining, our Union Coalition’s negotiations with King County have become more polarized.
Despite improved economic conditions, the County seems determined to offer less than it offered in the last round of coalition negotiations, suggesting annual cost of living adjustments of only 1.61% per year instead of the 2% and 2.25% increases in the last two years, AND a reduced annual contribution towards health and welfare benefits of only 2% each year instead of the 4% annual increase offered in the last bargain.
“I don’t see that the County is willing to move on any of the goals that labor has put forward.”
DAN FERNANDEZ Prosecuting Attorney Office
The Union Coalition is sending a strong message that this simply will not ratify given the economic growth and increased cost of living in the Seattle metropolitan area.
On Wednesday, July 5, the County presented us with a formal counterproposal on all economic issues including wages and health and welfare benefits. However, the County’s proposal did not involve any meaningful movement and was largely a reiteration of its prior offers.
The County also rejected our proposal to universalize and improve the above top step pay systems. As you might expect, the Coalition’s negotiation team was disappointed and frustrated by the County’s failure to respond to our economics priorities.
“It’s extremely disappointing. I don’t think the County is coming to the table to actually bargain. It seems to be: Here’s the plate. You can either eat from it, or too bad you can just walk away.”
CHERYL ANN GUNDERSON, IT Manager
Our Union Coalition bargaining team spent most of the day in caucus on Wednesday, June 22, first reviewing the possible economic parameters including wage increases, a coalition premium, and health and welfare benefit protection.
Our Union team also reviewed language that represented possible revisions to a Joint Labor Agreement (JLA) that culled out provisions and language unacceptable to the Union Coalition.
We then had a robust and serious dialogue regarding the JLA. The JLA was not originally contemplated by the Total Compensation Agreement that led to these negotiations, and the concept of the JLA was introduced very late in the process and without a clear and reasonable explanation as to how the JLA (and agreement of common terms applicable to all coalition unions) would integrate with the multiple, mature collective bargaining agreements that have been negotiated across decades.Read more
Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy sits on a panel to discuss more training opportunities for King County employees.
We put aside our differences with King County for a day as union representatives and County officials gathered at the Labor Temple for the annual King County Labor Summit.
The purpose of the Summit was to seek common ground and explore opportunities for partnerships between unions and the County around issues like equity, social justice, and training and development. Much of the day’s discussion also revolved around the need to address the County’s financial challenges.
Our Local Union was a major player at the event. John Scearcy, our Secretary-Treasurer, initiated the opening panel discussion about the need to prioritize training opportunities for union members at the County.
John told his powerful personal story about how he rose up out of poverty to get a good union job in a warehouse, become a Shop Steward, and ultimately the President and Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “We need to create more opportunities for impoverished communities and people of color,” Scearcy said. “This is about partnering toward people’s success.”Read more
Our Coalition bargaining team met with King County for a frustrating negotiations session on Wednesday, June 8. In this session, the County appeared unwilling to meet our team halfway on issues that are critical to the union coalition.
The day started with the County stating its opposition to our proposal for a longevity or merit-based pay structure that would reward union members who have dedicated many years of service to the County. This came as a disappointment to our union committee given that establishing a system for longevity pay was one of our priorities going into bargaining.
We were more hopeful when the County indicated that it was interested in creating a premium for members whose unions have participated in coalition bargaining. We took that idea into caucus and discussed the possible makeup of the premium through the creation of a new coalition pay table that would surpass the general squared pay table.Read more
Our Coalition of Unions bargaining team was back at the table with King County on May 25 for total compensation contract negotiations.
Much of the day’s discussion, both in our Union caucus and across the table from the employer, focused on the County’s proposal for a “Joint Labor Agreement.” With its proposal, the County is looking to find common terms among the myriad of County contracts.
Initially, our team resisted this concept. We were concerned that streamlining contract language could compromise the unique provisions that individual unions have developed in County contracts over the years through the collective bargaining process.Read more
This summer, we will be having our Every Voice Counts Union gatherings for members at locations across King County.
This is your opportunity to share ideas and tell us what matters most to you. Get an update on current negotiations at King County and enjoy some some tasty food and refreshments!
Click on the corresponding link to RSVP. These are drop-in interviews, so choose the time and location that is most convenient for you. For more information, contact Karen Estevenin at 206-441-4860 ext. 1244.
|Cedar Hills Landfill|
|Black Diamond Rds|
Our King County Coalition of Unions bargaining team was back at the table with the County on May 11 to continue total compensation contract negotiations for the 2017-2018 biennium.
Nine months into bargaining, progress has been slow, but we are still hopeful we can reach an agreement by our June deadline.
For the first hour of this session, our Union team met in caucus to finalize our economic counterproposal.
We focused on the highest priorities of the membership based on the contract survey results. These include an across-the-board wage increase in both years of the contract, adequate protection for our health and welfare benefits without premium share, and recognition for years of service to the County.
Our proposal addressed these economic issues on a coalition-wide basis while preserving an important degree of economic bargaining autonomy for each individual bargaining unit. We also established a timeframe for negotiating additional economic and non-economic items after an anticipated ratification vote this summer.
We presented our proposal to the County, and after a short discussion, both parties returned to caucus.Read more
As your JLMIC Co-Chair, I want to give you an update on the status of your King County health and welfare benefits:
The JLMIC Protected Fund Reserve Is Strong And Continues To Grow, Ensuring Preservation Of Plan Provisions And No Premium Share In 2017-2018.
In July of last year, we anticipated that the Protected Fund Reserve (“PFR”) would reach $39 million at the end of 2016. I am pleased to report that we achieved that $39 million target a year early. As of December 31, 2015, the Protected Fund Reserve totaled $39,774,228!
The Protected Fund Reserve was established in 2013 to create a bulwark against the ever-increasing costs of medical care so as to defer any need for employee premium share towards the excellent, full-family medical, dental, vision and ancillary benefits provided through King County employment and negotiated by our Union at the JLMIC.Read more
Shop Steward Cynthia Adams (bottom right) shares ideas with her co-workers as a part of our Every Voice Counts project.
The King Street Center was buzzing yesterday, as Teamsters at King County met to share ideas and voice their concerns about the workplace as a part of our Every Voice Counts project.
Members grabbed lunch, then sat together in small groups to exchange ideas. Many issues were brought to the table, including the need for the County to recognize longevity, provide equitable wages and benefits, and limit the number of temps.
Members also received the latest update from the ongoing total comp negotiations.
Our goal with this project is for member leaders to listen to their co-workers about how to build a better workplace and a stronger union. So far, dozens of King County Teamsters have participated in the project.
"It's important to have union representation because of the political environment we're facing," said Lisa Longdon, a Shop Steward from the King County Professional and Technical group. "There needs to be a voice for the people, which is the union."
We will be continuing to organize lunchtime events at King County for the next several months. If you would like to schedule your Every Voice Counts interview, talk to your Shop Steward, your Business Rep. Suzette Dickerson, or contact Karen Estevenin at 206-441-4860 ext. 1244.
On Monday, April 25, our King County Coalition of Unions bargaining team met with the employer to continue total compensation contract negotiations for the 2017-2018 biennium.
As expected, the County presented a comprehensive economic proposal that responded to our call for across-the-board wage increases, proposed increases to the County’s contribution for health and welfare, and our proposal to address longevity and the current merit-based pay plan.
The employer also came to the table with a proposal for common language issues in what they called a “joint labor” agreement. That presentation was not received well by the Union committee. The committee felt that the employer’s proposal was seeking to erode hard-won language issues that in many cases are unique to specific bargaining units. The Union group unanimously and categorically rejected that proposal.Read more