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Aug. 15 contract meeting

The contract team met with the county today. As I've said here and the team has related to members over the past six weeks, things had been moving glacially slow. However, the county made some movement today that is promising.

First, we exchanged our comparable numbers. There are a number of differences between our numbers and theirs, but the teams agreed to meet to discuss the discrepancies so we can all have a clear picture of where we sit in the labor market. Our team worked really hard on our comps and invested a lot of resources into coming up with the list, so we're confident in them.

The county then presented two separate packets to us. The first was a collection of proposals, and the second was a "what if" supposal intended to jump-start conversation on our economic issues. Both packets will be placed in the binders at MCDC, MCIJ, and the courthouse.

The biggest thing to come out of the proposals is the county agreed to keep our Kaiser contribution at 5% instead of the 7.5% they had previously asked for. They did not move much on the other issues in these articles. One thing to note: the county still has language in their proposal that will limit members to 52 TX's a year (basically one a week), but we've had multiple discussions on what they call their TX problem that I hope will lead to an updated proposal on TX's the next time we meet that will be much closer to the process we currently have.

In the "what if" batch, the county offered: a 5% market wage adjustment and 5% COLA in year one (10% total); a 5% COLA in year two; a 1-4% COLA in year three; an additional longevity step of 2.5% at year six; another 1% longevity step at year 14 (our current increase is 2.5% at year 14); and another 1.5% step at year 20 for 5% total; an increase in the incentives for our intermediate certification to 5% (from 4%) and our advanced to 5% (from 3%) -- whereas we currently get 7% total for both certs, it would now be 10%. They also struck the language that prevents members from waiting till year 5 to get the intermediate pay, and year 7 for the advanced. So once you get the cert from DPSST, you get the increase.

We still have a ways to go, but it was refreshing to get something of substance from the county. We have also set three more meetings before the end of September to keep the momentum moving.

As always, please let me or any of the contract team members know if you have any questions.


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