Tentative Agreement Reached

 

Tentative Agreement Reached:

DECEMBER
13
 

This morning, Wednesday, December 13, our AFSCME Clerical bargaining committee finalized a Tentative Agreement with the U of M for a 2017-2019 contract and we are unanimously recommending approval of this agreement by our membership. We have also canceled our action at this Friday's Board of Regents' meeting and have stopped circulating our petition.

Since we started bargaining in May, the U repeatedly told us they would not negotiate wages for year two and that there was no way parental leave could be expanded. In October, they gave us a settlement offer that we deemed unacceptable as it was only a one-year contract. We continued to pressure for a two-year contract and for parental leave. Due to our continued organizing in the workplace, the pressure of a strike vote by Teamsters, and our escalating actions, including a call for packing the Regents' meeting and petitioning the Regents, we succeeded in making the University modify their last offer to us. 

We have reached a Tentative Agreement for a 2017-2019 contract.
Key elements of the agreement are:

Wages

  • Year One (FY18) - a 1.5% Across the Board (ATB) increase, retroactive to June 12, 2017.
  • Year Two (FY19) - a 1.5% Across the Board (ATB) increase, effective June 11, 2018. 
  • As a reminder, step movement is codified in our contract and steps are not negotiated. Everybody who is not at the top of the pay scales will receive their 2% step on their anniversary date each year. Those receiving steps will get 3.5% per year in total increases, or 7% for the two year agreement. Those at the top of the scale, and not receiving steps will get 1.5% per year, for a total of 3% over the life of the agreement.
Health Insurance
  • No changes in the percent of premium and copays paid by employees.
  • Zero increases in the premium rate for 2017.
  • A reduction from 60 days to 30 days for new employees to sign up for supplemental insurance programs.
Parental Leave
  • A "me too" agreement on parental leave expansion. The University is currently considering a global policy expansion, which would provide 6 weeks paid parental leave to all parents. With a "me too" agreement, clerical workers will be immediately included in any expansion, and contract language would be updated in our next round of bargaining.
  • We are committed to working with other employee groups on campus to make the possibility of parental leave for all a concrete reality.
Dignity and Respect in the Workplace
  • The right to work free from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression (included in the non-discrimination clause of our contract).
  • The right to work in a "respectful work environment" (inclusion in the non-discrimination clause of our contract).
  • Maintaining our MOU on Respectful Workplace, which the U wanted removed.
On-Call Pay
  • The U agreed to an MOU to create a pilot program in the Vet Med Center to provide $2 an hour in on-call pay if employees are required to be on call for possible return to work. We had previously not had on-call pay in our contract. 

The University made the agreement conditional on two things:

1. That our committee unanimously recommend that the membership ratify.
2. That we cancel our action at the Board of Regents' meeting on Friday and stop circulating our petition.

Our committee unanimously recommends approval of this agreement by our membership. We have also canceled our action at this Friday's Board of Regents' meeting and have stopped circulating our petition.

Our committee believes that fundamentally we were able to reach this agreement because our members refused to give in and settle for a one year contract. We took action after action and worked to wring every single penny and every bit of contract language that we could from the U. This agreement represents all that we could win in this round of bargaining. We also know that it does not represent what we deserve, especially for those at the top of the scales who do not receive steps. We know that to win more significant wage increases (especially a fix for our steps and raising the top of the scales) and language demands like full restoration of the Regents' scholarship and internal hiring priority is going to require us to up our actions and involve even more members and coworkers in our efforts. 

Next Steps:
  • The exact terms of the Tentative Agreement will be posted to our website by 12/15/17.
  • We will be holding noon informational meetings from January 2 through 5 to discuss all the details of the agreement. At least one session will use video-conferencing to ensure the ability to participate for our members in greater MN who are not near a campus location. 
  • Following the info sessions, we will be voting on the agreement. We are conducting on-site balloting this year, and locations will be set up on the Twin Cities, Morris, Crookston, Duluth, and Rochester campuses. For members who do not work on campus locations or who are not able to easily make it to an onsite voting location, we will provide mail ballots. An announcement of the voting details will be sent out once the logistics have been finalized. Notice of the elections will be mailed to home addresses at least two weeks in advance of the vote. Voting on contracts is a right of membership. If you are not a member, but would like to vote on whether or not you find this agreement acceptable, contact us at afscme3800@gmail.com, and we will bring you a membership card. You will also be able to sign up for membership at the voting locations.
  • If the contract is ratified by members by early January, it will go to the Board of Regents for approval at their meeting in February and the retroactive increases would be paid in March.


Solidarity with Teamsters and AFSCME Technical & Healthcare workers
Our Teamster coworkers are still in contract negotiations and return to mediation on January 8. They continue to organize and prepare for a possible strike. We are committed to do everything we can to support them in their efforts to get a good contract. We will keep you posted of their upcoming actions and activities as we are made aware of them.

Technical and healthcare coworkers in AFSCME locals 3937/3801 and 3260 will be returning to bargaining in the spring for their 2018-2019 contract. As their contract campaign develops, we will let you know of actions we can take to support them in their efforts. 

Thank you:
Our committee would like to express our most heartfelt thanks to the members of our bargaining Assembly who led contract campaign efforts. We also thank all of our members for the actions you have repeatedly taken to win a good contract for yourself and your coworkers. You prove that there is strength in solidarity.

In solidarity,

your clerical bargaining committee
Rosetta Chears
Angie Hoffman-Walter
Cherrene Horazuk
Geraldine Hughes
Brad Sigal
Julie Smith
Steff Yorek