Union and county representatives met on both October 8th and October 15th with a flurry of proposals and counter-proposals exchanged, reviewed, and discussed with necessary clarifications requested and provided. Much of that time was spent on tough issues such as workplace morale, dignity and respect and scheduling. Your Table Team members shared your concerns passionately on these issues with the Employer. The long hours spent at each session resulted in our being positioned to address the remainder of our language and economic proposal as we enter mediation with the employer in November.
We have reached a tentative agreement on the health insurance portion of the contract which will be what is offered during open enrollment next month. There will be increases in premiums with the employee and Employer splitting that increased cost as well as an increase in the cost of co-pays for generic drugs. Although increases are never positive we have mitigated the amount of the increase as much as possible. The reality is that our medical trend with Hennepin County insurance is changing. There are other significant and positive changes regarding insurance. We have entered into an agreemetn to utilize a consensus based model to further determine any change in plan design and future planning for Hennepin County insurance. This model provides a greater opportunity for collaborative work on the insurance plan alongside the employer. Rather than providing sole authority to the employer in future years we have asserted a place at the table to continue decision making regarding our insurance plan. We have agreed to use a consensus model for the outlying year(s) of the contract in regards to costs of family coverage.
We have proposed 4.5% in 2016 and 4.5% in 2017 cost of living increases (a two or three year contract is yet to be agreed upon). The county has proposed 1.25% for employees at top pay and 1.0% for employees who also are eligible for step increases. We need to stand strong on our message that we will not be divided on the across the board raise the first of each year.
Our actions away from the negotiations table are very important to the success of the union during the next two sessions on November 2nd and 16th. Union members from all six locals supported our sisters & brothers of Locals 2822 & 2864 when they testified in front of the Library Board on October 21st about the need for more staffing at the libraries and paying fair wages to those employees. We nee YOU to stand up and be heard at our rally on October 29th - 7:00 AM at Century Plaza and 12:00 noon at the Government Center Plaza. We still have important issues such as adequate staffing and wage equity on the table.
The job that the Table Team is now facing is prioritizing our remaining proposals. This is the hardest part of the process. November 2nd and 16th we are in the mediation phase where we work intently with the mediators on the remaining language and economic issues.
Please help your union bargaining team by wearing green on Tuesdays, distributing the table talk's in your area and sign the petition to support your bargaining team!
Contact our Educate, Engage and Outreach Committee to find out how you can help: email@example.com