Negotiations Update #4: August 12, 2019

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We began the day by modifying our proposal on workplace bullying to mirror the harassment prohibition language in the faculty union contract for Duluth and Crookston faculty. It addresses both sexual and non-sexual harassment and states that the employer and union agree that all employees are entitled to freedom from harassment. 

Management’s response was outrageous and insulting. They said that the issue with that language is that there is a difference between clerical workers and faculty in that most harassment for faculty is peer to peer. They said they don’t want the policy to become the reason for clerical workers with work performance issues to bog us down in the grievance process.  They are concerned that we will file grievances against supervisors who are carrying out performance management. We reiterated that our concern is holding bullying and harassing supervisors accountable. They only seem interested in addressing peer to peer harassment (ie holding frontline staff accountable) and not addressing supervisor to employee harassment. Clearly they are interested in protecting bullying supervisors at any costs while sweeping aside the rights of clerical workers to come to work each day without facing bullying. This is a gross misplacement of priorities and shows clear disrespect for clerical workers.

We also presented a comprehensive proposal to address the impact of climate change, proposing all-employee group campus green committees to develop climate mitigation proposals. We also proposed that, in order to encourage environmentally-friendly mass transit, the University shall fully reimburse bus passes, bike share or scooter passes, and reimburse parking for employees who carpool and rideshare. Finally, we proposed parameters for emergency weather closures, the ability to work from home in extreme cold or to receive time and a half pay when required to work when classes are canceled due to weather.

Meanwhile, our other proposals were met with rejection and little discussion.

We return to bargaining on August 26. We will be presenting a detailed proposal to increase the top of the pay scale and reduce the number of steps to get there. We have been pushing for so-called step compression for 9 years. We are #DoneWaiting for movement from the U. 

Please sign our petition in support of our bargaining demands and remember to wear your AFSCME green shirt on Fridays.