Yesterday concluded our interest arbitration hearing over the economic components of our 2021-2023 collective bargaining agreement.

On the last day of hearing, we reiterated our argument before the arbitrator for a number of economic improvements to your contract. These include:

  • targeted range increases for 79 classifications;
  • a cost-of-living increase for both years of the contract;
  • a COVID recruitment and retention bonus;
  • the ability to access your Step M longevity pay after six years;
  • for the State to pay 100% of your Paid Family Leave premium; and
  • a reopener in case there is an emergency event like a pandemic.

The State admitted in their testimony that DOC Teamsters deserve increases but they are simply not willing to come anywhere close to the increases we are requesting.

Our Union's staff attorney, Eamon McCleery, reminded the arbitrator of the State's improved economic forecast for the current biennium. He said the State cannot possible justify the compensation gap that exists between our members and those who perform comparable work in similar jurisdictions. Most persuasively, he spoke of the extraordinarily challenging working environment you have faced during the pandemic.

In his closing remarks, McCleery left the arbitrator with the following quote from AC Cook Alena McGowen-Folsom of MCCCW, a member of our negotiation team:

"I keep showing up because I believe in my job, actually. I believe what I do is worthwhile. I am essential."

Thank you to our outstanding DOC bargaining committee for their tireless work throughout contract negotiations and during the hearing. Your powerful testimony had a profound impact and served as the centerpiece of our case.

The arbitrator has committed to issuing his award by no later than September 24. As soon as we hear from the arbitrator, I will share the award with you and provide our analysis.

Here you can view a short video recap of our final day of hearing. 

As mentioned prior to the hearing, we made an extensive information request to the Department in preparation for vaccine negotiations. We will reconvene our negotiations committee tomorrow and meet directly with the State on Sunday, August 29 to bargain over the Governor's mandate.

We will provide you with an update on those negotiations early next week.