AFT Wage Negotiation Update, 2/8/2022

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Below is the text of an email update sent by David Krull (Negotiations Chair) on 2/8/2022 to all faculty:

 

Wage Negotiations update 2/8/22

As promised, your negotiation team will provide all faculty with a summary of all discussions during our joint negotiations with the Administration's team.

Today was the first joint session with the Administration’s team and we intentionally had a short agenda because the eboard directed us to first work with the Administration to allow access to all members to the joint sessions via zoom.  AFT told the Administration that we expected members to have access to all our joint zoom sessions.  Administration initially declined AFT’s demand but offered to talk about it during the first joint meeting.

Today’s meeting was devoted to the need to open meetings to all faculty.  AFT made Administration aware of the importance of speaking directly to their faculty members and worked to resolve technical concerns they raised.  We made progress in this discussion and the Administration asked to carry over this discussion to our next meeting, scheduled for February 22nd at 3:30pm. 

Below is the summary of the meeting today.

 

Summary of 2/8/22 meeting 

·         Negotiation team members introduced themselves. 

·         Teams agreed to send out joint summary statements from each session.  These joint summaries in no way restrict communications among faculty members about any discussions during the joint sessions. 

·         Teams agreed to a preliminary schedule of when negotiation sessions will take place.  

o    3:30 – 5:00 on second and fourth Tuesdays. 

·         Will continue to conduct the sessions via Zoom for now and may transition to in person as conditions allow.  

·         Teams discussed the faculty union’s proposal to open the bargaining sessions to all faculty and agreed to discuss it further at the next session.  

 

Next meeting: 2/22/22 from 3:30 – 5:00 AFT will host the zoom meeting

·         Agenda 

o    Continue discussion related to open negotiations.  

 

For background purposes, the requirement for Administration to bargain in front of all the members of the bargaining unit is unsettled law in Washington State.  Recent court decisions ruled it is an unfair labor practice for either side to place a precondition to bargaining on a requirement to have open negotiations.  Therefore, it would be an unfair labor practice for the union to refuse to bargain wages unless the negotiations are open.  At the same time,  it is an unfair labor practice for the Administration to refuse to bargain wages with AFT in open sessions.  Neither side can set this type of “precondition to bargaining wages” without committing an unfair labor practice.**

Our challenge, of course, is that we are the ones that want to bargain wages – so steps that delay bargaining achieve the primary goal of Administration in that it delays them having to give us a pay raise.  This makes litigating the issue of “open negotiations” a challenge for AFT because it delays the start of bargaining, and the only remedy AFT receives if it wins in litigation, is a direction by the Court to begin bargaining.  AFT doesn’t “win” a pay raise in Court.

We have decided that we made enough progress in today’s discussions with Administration that we can give them until our next meeting to accept our demand and open the sessions to our wage negotiations.  If Administration fails to allow faculty access to our joint sessions, we still have all the current remedies available to us.

Thank you to the faculty that participated in a silent protest today by sitting in the zoom waiting room during negotiations today.  Please keep the pressure on Administration to recognize the need to talk to all faculty directly about fair pay heading into our next joint session.  As explained before the meeting, Administration controlled today’s zoom meeting and had already conveyed to faculty that they would only allow members of each negotiation team into the zoom.  Your presence was known to everyone in the session today.

Your AFT Negotiations Team

 

**https://lris.com/2021/02/03/whether-bargaining-should-be-in-public-is-no...

holding of the court:  We, therefore, conclude that the bargaining procedure in dispute here is not a managerial prerogative or a union prerogative. For this reason, neither the County nor Local 690 had authority to impose its preferred procedure on the other. Neither party may hold collective bargaining hostage to unilaterally imposed preconditions to bargaining. Here, the parties did just that. Each insisted on their own procedure for collective bargaining. This prevented them from bargaining on mandatory subjects. Their insistence caused an impasse over a permissive subject of bargaining, which is an unfair labor practice.