Negotiations Update #1: June 24 & 25, 2019

See video

Our U of M AFSCME Bargaining Committee, representing clerical, technical, and healthcare workers throughout the University system began formal contract negotiations with the U of M administration last week. We started bargaining unified and strong with a join committee of all four AFSCME locals.

In every round of contract negotiations, our union works to strengthen our contract and improve working conditions for frontline staff at the U. We build on the gains that workers who came before us made, and fight for a better future for the workers who will come after us.

Our union presented proposals that are based on the priorities our members gave us in bargaining surveys and first hand consultation. These include a fair and equitable wage increase, pay equity between LPNs and CMAs, strengthening job security and leave protections including bereavement leave, advancing racial and gender equity at the U, mitigating the impact of climate change, restoring the regents scholarship, and fixing the broken wage step system for clericals and technicals, which the U committed to do in 2009 but has refused to move on since. We know that frontline workers need to make real economic progress. Our jobs deserve respect and we deserve to be paid wages that allow us to commit to a career at the U, raise our families and retire with dignity.
 
We haven't discussed specific wage proposals yet. Management was not prepared to talk finances yet, even though the contract expired on June 30. 

We are hopeful that a new University president and new additions to the Board of Regents will give a positive and productive mandate to the management bargaining committee. Our first day of bargaining was cordial, but the true test of the administration's respect will be when we get financial proposals. 

We set a calendar of negotiations dates throughout July and August. Our clerical committee returns to the table on July 11.

Check out the video update on our first day of bargaining. Please see links below for copies of our union and management's opening proposals. 

 

When will clerical workers get raises?

AFSCME members receive two types of salary increases: an automatic step increase and the negotiated across-the-board increase. The step increase for clerical workers is a 2% increase that is received automatically on your anniversary date until you reach the top of the pay scale. The intention of the step increase is to recognize and reward workers for the increased skills and ability you develop each year on the job. Steps are contractually guaranteed and will continue to be paid while negotiations take place. If you do not receive your step on your anniversary date, please let us know.

 

Unionized workers negotiate the amount of our across-the-board raises (or general increase), rather than having raises determined and imposed from above (which is what happens with faculty, P&A and Civil Service staff). The upside of this is that we can and do push for more than what is merely budgeted. The challenge is that the U generally won't even talk about wages until the state allocation has been determined and the budget has been ratified by the Board of Regents (which takes place in June). Negotiations began last week, but we didn’t receive the University’s opening wage proposal. We are scheduled to return to the table on July 11 and will likely get the University's opening wage proposal then. We have bargaining dates scheduled through August. Contract negotiations have typically culminated in late September or October.

We will receive our general (or across-the-board) wage increases once our new contract has been fully negotiated and voted on by our membership. Raises will be retroactive to the beginning date of the contract. Once the contract has been agreed upon by our members and the Board of Regents, people will receive back-pay for the salary increases from the contract expiration date.