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Tough bargaining gains member respect – 2019 Contract

March 2019

Tough bargaining gains member respect
Contract talks start to sizzle with issues voiced by members

BY DEBORAH A. MILES

During the last few months, hundreds of PEF members spanning the state articulated their PS&T contract desires at town hall meetings. Team members not only listened, but are bringing those items to the table.

Bargaining with the state’s negotiators kicked-off at the end of January. Both sides did the perfunctory courtesies, introducing the team members and laying out ground rules.

Now the nuts and bolts of the future contract are being exchanged in the form of conceptual proposals, the foundation to build a new agreement that respects all PEF-represented titles.

PEF Contract Team Chair Darlene Williams said, “We heard your concerns and are giving them a real voice at the table. One of my members asked me, ‘Are we really going to look at performance awards (longevity pay)?’

“I told the member I can’t give away trade secrets, but it is one of the things we are absolutely fighting to improve. It is one of the first proposals we submitted to the state’s negotiators.

“We are sending the message to the state that PEF members are real professionals, that deserve real respect, and that what we negotiate comes from real voices.

“You have told us about the inadequacies in the dental program, flexible work schedules, telecommuting and many other topics. This team realizes these are challenges to our members, and these are concerns and issues we will address.”

PEF Chief Negotiator Mark Richard said, “PEF members stand with their bargaining team because their team is fighting forward and leaving nothing on the floor. An educated membership is the strongest membership. Knowing and enforcing our contract opens up a level of activism among members that strengthens our union. And that is why this team will always be driven by the voices and input from the membership.” (See related story on Article 18.)

The team held negotiations for three days at the end of March, and have meetings confirmed for April 9, 10, May 7, 8 and June 4, 5. Additional small table dates are in the process of being scheduled.

For breaking contract news, make sure to visit the official PEF Facebook and Twitter pages, and the PEF website.