Your Bargaining Team continued contract negotiations with the State on October 4. Our team remains frustrated that we’ve now met 5 times with the State including twice with a mediator and we still don’t have an agreement that’s suitable for our membership. The State continues to want to eliminate proposals rather than focus on the interests of both sides to make meaningful change. After meeting for 11 hours on this day until 8:00 pm, the team left very frustrated.
Near the end of the night, the State made an offer that included the 5.5% and 4.5% Across the Board wage increases that other unions received, minimal increases to the shift differential pay for Radio Engineers, minimal increases to on-call pay, a small increase to the meal reimbursement amounts.
Our team was able to quickly respond with a counter-offer for several things including increasing the shift differential and on-call pay amounts, increasing the top step of all ranges by 4%, provide non-exempt employees with improved OT language and updating the vacation service credit calculation.
The team remains frustrated that we have done so much work yet have no agreement to present to members. The scheduling process is definitely one of those frustrations. Our next scheduled date of mediation is now November 8. Our team was prepared to meet as soon as possible, even if several of our team members would have conflicts. Many of the proposals MGEC is making are to bring those items up to the standard language that the State has agreed to with other unions like MAPE and AFSCME. Many of our positions have been behind market rate for years and we see this as an opportunity to at least try to close the gap.
Another question that many members may ask is why don’t we just go to arbitration? The simple answer is that we are not able to yet. The process requires the mediator to make the determination that the parties are at an impasse, and she needs to certify us to go to arbitration. The hope is that the team can come to an agreement rather than have an independent third party make the decision for us.
What happens next? We’ll meet with the State and mediator on November 8 in hopes of coming to an agreement. We’ll update you as soon as possible after that to let you know the outcome!
Bargaining team: Carroll Aasen, Benton Campbell, Mohammad Dehdashti, Tony Kelly, Corey Mathisen, Fernando Nacionales, Blake Nelson, Jennifer Reichensperger, Mike Rude, Luke Schuette, Dan Sullivan, Todd Vonasek, Dana Wheeler