Right now, Local 117 members who serve on the bargaining committee of the King County Coalition of Unions are gathering to continue total compensation contract negotiations for the 2017-2018 biennium. Today’s bargaining session will kick off at 9 A.M. and is expected to last most of the day.
We are several months into the process, so negotiations are focusing almost exclusively on the most important economic issues. The County and the Coalition of Unions exchanged initial proposals over all economic elements of your contract and we anticipate that, in today’s negotiations, the employer will present a comprehensive counterproposal to our initial proposal.
The County will likely respond to our call for a general across-the-board wage increase each year of the two year contract, as well as increased contributions for medical benefits that avoids any employee premium share, and the creation of additional steps to the pay structure that would acknowledge the importance of longevity.
We also expect a response to our proposal for how to analyze “market-based adjustments”, or the need to ensure that wages are in line with similar positions at comparable employers.
So far, the parties have been far apart in terms of the economic proposals. The Union is insisting that you and your co-workers are compensated in a manner that is equitable and recognizes the excellent services you provide. The County has argued that the tax structure for county revenues is challenged in such a way that limits their ability to provide increases that can keep up with the economic realities of the Consumer Price Index.
If the process is going to succeed, the County and the Coalition need to come to an agreement before the end of June. We anticipate that our last session will be on June 22. If we don’t have an agreement by then, the current health and welfare agreement requires that the parties invoke the mechanism for resolving disputes.
This Wednesday, April 27, the Union will be caucusing to discuss today’s proposal by the employer and to develop our own counterproposal. We plan to send out the next update after that meeting. If you have any questions, please contact your bargaining committee member or your Business Representative.
Thank you so much for everything that you do and for your outstanding service to the residents of King County.