Negotiations Update - July 2, 2012
We met together the first week of negotiations in mid June. This week started slowly as both sides presented proposals and picked up momentum over the last couple of days.
As with all negotiations, the EA entered this one with a hierarchy of our proposals. Our primary focus has been the design of a new pay delivery system which would better reward performance and provide advancement through the pay range, clarification of the definition of management work (line of demarcation), obtaining official time for time spent in negotiations, providing language that allows a salary increase to implemented earlier in cases of delayed transfers, preserving local cooperative conferences, and improving the interview notifications by having the request sent directly to the employee. Additionally, a major focus is to improve conditions related to progression plans.
Our secondary proposals included increasing premium OT pay rates for OT worked on second off days and holidays, Sunday premium of 25%, limiting the weighting of interviews during the selection process to a reasonable weight, reducing time frames for temporary promotions, restoration of union preference, revising day break language.
Management's apparent focus has been on limiting your representation during work hours, combining the Articles and Supplementary Agreements, a 3 year agreement, increasing threshold hour limit for exempt employees from 7.5 hours/week to 15 hours/week, limiting grievance rights on performance reviews and reduce time limits to file classification grievances, clarification of management work (diametric to the EA proposal on this subject), and update competitive areas (due to reorganizations).
Management's secondary proposals included maintaining a non-paid meal period on day shift when implementing a multi shift work schedule, limiting functions of the joint health care committee, increasing the probationary period for new employees from 6 months to one year, and eliminating educational incentives.
Given a mutual interest in providing management the discretion to increase a person's pay increase as soon as possible when a transfer is delayed, agreement on this language change was reached early in the week.
The EA presented a new conceptual pay delivery system for management consideration. The concept would provide a single number as the increase for employees based on a position's market rate and the employee's overall rating. This concept would include a fifth rating (current system has four ratings). This concept would provide larger percentage increases for those lower in their pay range resulting faster progression through the range to the market rate. While management acknowledged the EA's effort to present new ideas, Management was not interested in discussions at the present time preferring to discuss this later with market rates and performance pay budget discussions (July 30 week). Several members have asked for more details on how this pay delivery system would change. Right now the EA has not proposed specific changes but rather several conceptual ideas that would allow for progression through the pay range.
A breakthrough came when management accepted a significant package proposed by the EA that paired diametric proposals to be dropped by each side to focus discussions on the more critical issues to each side – like pay delivery (EA) and a 3 year agreement (TVA). Among the proposals tentatively dropped by management were limiting your representation during work hours, increasing threshold time, maintaining the non-paid meal period on day shift for multi shift operations, limiting grievance rights on performance reviews and reduce time limits to file classification grievances, and limiting functions of the joint health committee.
Among the proposals the EA tentatively dropped were official time for time spent in negotiations, premium pay on select OT and schedule Sundays, reduced time frame on temporary promotions, and restoring union preference.
The EA’s primary focus is to create a new pay delivery system. We are striving to find a system that allows employees to move to the market rate in a reasonable amount of time. We are looking at what other companies use to pay their professional employees. Finding a method to pay folks that is easier to understand and simple to administer is also very important. If you have an idea regarding this, please share it with your EA representative and make sure it comes to the EA negotiating team.
All agreements at this point are tentative and become final at the close of negotiations.
The custom survey results regarding pay were delayed. Aon Hewitt is the agreed upon survey company. We look to receive the survey in its entirety soon and will resume negotiation with focus on setting this year’s pay budget and setting new market rates for all our positions.
Please send your comments or questions to your EA leadership.
Executive Committee – Negotiation team members: Joy Bull , John Hall , Bert Leckie , Rick Davis , Dan Moore , Eddie Newell , Sue Payne , Gary Jordan , Ronnie McKamey , Les Bays , Melvin Dean , Steve Locke , Gay Henson , EA staff: Sue Rollins & Cathy Christopher