Friday, December 30, 2016
Message from President, Billy Imandt
Yesterday your Executive Board was informed, by email, that OCA intends to conduct a direct mailing and courthouse posting regarding its version of a contract update.
We feel that this is direct dealing and interfering in the relationship between COBANC's elected officials and its members.
We have been completely forthcoming in the information provided to our members. In fact, COBANC members had more information than ever provided to them in the history of COBANC before this past summer's vote on the contract. The proposed contract was posted on our website, an informational meeting was held, and a summary sheet distributed that included a full breakdown of the proposed agreement, including both the enhanced benefits and all givebacks. There was complete disclosure. COBANC members had all the facts and the majority voted the contract down.
The next step was a pre-fact-finding meeting on December 13, 2016 with the Director of Conciliation of PERB with a view to narrow down the issues, if possible. OCA put three additional items on the table.
- A one-time increase of money to our Health and Welfare fund of $25,000, approximately $32 per member.
- The right to work 2 days during the holiday recess for all members -and-
- 1200 additional hours (one-time) of EOL (Employee Organizational Leave - a/k/a Union time)
Based on these being the only new additions to the contract offer the Negotiating Committee voted 10-0 NOT to send this "new" proposal back to the Board of Directors.
The Negotiating Committee made several proposals to OCA with a view towards a better contract that we felt we could present to the Board of Directors and our members.
- We asked to negotiate an 8-year contract. OCA rejected that offer; however, three days later it put out a letter to me and our counsel indicating that they would be offering (for 2016-2019) 2%, 2%, 2%, no change in the current salary schedule and bonus structure, no change to the employees' share of health benefit contributions, and that they would "address matters of mutual importance such as location pay and the continuation of both the Clerk blazer allowance and extending the commitment made in the tentative 2011-16 collective bargaining agreement that if another Court System union ratifies an agreement with more favorable direct compensation benefits, such benefits would be extended to your members." This letter was then sent out by me to everyone on the Negotiating Committee and the Board of Directors. If we could negotiate an 8-year deal where the above is OFFICIALLY on the table - it might be something we could work with. But OCA said NO.
- We also made an offer to OCA to modify the deal as follows:
a) Same percentage increase in location (geographic) pay as the contract. That is, 2% for 2015 and 2% for 2016 which we intended to continue into successor agreements. That would be 6% more for 2016-19 if that contract was ratified.
b) Revert to the old Separation pay language (up to 1-year) from the 2007-11 contract.
c) A one-time $390,000 influx to the Health and Welfare fund ($500 per member) [this could be distributed to the membership in the form of enhanced benefits, e.g. an increased medical reimbursement to help offset our medical insurance premiums].
d) Revert to the old Blood Bank language (ability to bank your comp time).
OCA rejected every one of our demands.
Therefore, with the consent of the Executive Board, I have instructed our counsel to give until the close of business today for OCA to recant their intention to directly contact our members or else COBANC will file an improper practice charge with PERB, alleging violations of the Taylor Law.
If OCA can go directly to our membership, essentially going around the people that you elected to represent your best interests, where does it stop? Can the future be that OCA puts out postings and mailings saying that the union is hiding things from its members? That grievances will not be looked at kindly by OCA headquarters? I could go on and on with scenarios. There is no telling where these types of communications could lead if not stopped now in its tracks.
Unfortunately, there is no time or way to stop this mailing/posting before PERB would get to hear the facts about this matter. Unless OCA changes its mind in the 11th hour, expect something in your mailbox sometime next week. Remember, the only changes to the 2011-16 contract that was voted down this past August are number's 1, 2 and 3 above. We may not be able to stop the mailing, but through PERB we can make OCA pay for its interference.