TEA Times Special Announcement -
Wastewater Negotiations Update

A tentative agreement on a comprehensive wage package for the expired Wastewater contract (for July 2002 - June 2005) has been reached by the County and Wastewater Negotiation Team!!!

Details of the agreement will follow in the next few days once it's written up in final form.  It will address updated salary ranges, retro payments for the contract period, the process for classification and step placement, and COLA payments.

Because we want to expedite a vote by the members to approve (or disapprove) the package ASAP, we are scheduling a vote to take place between noon and 1:00 pm on Thursday, November 10th.  Details to follow.  This conforms with the bylaw requirements for a Special Election.  We will have at least one information session prior to the vote - more info will be coming shortly.

Thanks again to all who supported the union at this critical time - your efforts helped make this possible!

Eric Mandel, T.E.A. President

Final Notice of Open Enrollment for 2006 Benefits!!!

If you want to make changes to your benefits in 2006, be sure to send your personalized open enrollment form to Benefits and Retirement Operations by TODAY (Friday, October 28).

No changes?  Simply keep your enrollment form for your records.  (A recent TEA announcement incorrectly suggested you need to turn this in even if there were no changes.)  Note that you MUST re-enroll if you want to continue (or start) a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for either Health Care or Dependent Care, per your enrollment packet.

Please note that you ARE expected to return this form if you want any benefit changes, as it reflects current benefit offerings to TEA members.  TEA employees will continue to be covered under the existing benefits until a new contract is negotiated.

New Officer Nominations close November 1st !!

The members voted at this month’s meeting to approve the Bylaws amendment creating the following new Board offices (and eliminating the position of 2nd Vice President):

In addition, the position of Treasurer is also up for election.

Please get your nominations to the Nominating Committee (Gary Ikeda, Ken Madden, Lee Miller and Robin Robinson) or any TEA Board officer.

Each of these positions is for a two-year term of office. We encourage all our members to consider running for these positions - it is the most direct way to have an impact on the direction and operation of our organization! We welcome new energy and ideas - please consider running!

Quick WW Negotiations Update

Thanks in part to member support and letters, we are moving much closer to a settlement of the wage package and associated retro payments. We have two potentially all day sessions scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, and we are optimistic we may be able to finalize the offer to bring to the WW membership. We are close, and both sides have made revised offers to get us to a final settlement. We cannot give specifics due to the confidential nature of bargaining - understand that when we breach this it can come back to hurt us at the table. Stay tuned for further updates.

President's Message

This has been an intense time, particularly for our Wastewater negotiations. I know that you share my frustration with the length of time this has taken, and the Negotiation Team is working very hard to get the County negotiators to move enough to where we can accept a package. Your voices have been heard by the County, and we thank you for the letters that went out. Understand I personally do want to support our Executive, but until we see tangible evidence (in an acceptable wage offer) of a specific commitment to fairly value your work, we can't ask you members to do so.

I also want to note that this is an important time for making an impact on the future direction that TEA may go with the election of four new Board positions (see above). The Nominating Committee has been working hard encouraging candidates, and we have at least one member willing to run for each position. I want to again invite you to participate - if you have an interest in seeing your views represented, there is no better way to influence TEA than to be a Board member. Nominate yourself, nominate someone who shares your views. TEA tries to be as democratic an organization as possible, but that requires active involvement!

Even if you don't want to make that commitment, there are several ways you can be involved, learn more, and influence things. You can always go to monthly meetings and ask questions. You can volunteer to be on the advisory Negotiating Committees (a new one will be forming in WW once the wage settlement is final). You can talk to your Council Representative (or decide to be one!) - they are listed on the TEA website (www.teaseattle.org). (Each workgroup has a representative to communicate with the Board and bring your questions and concerns, and we ask that each workgroup make their own determination of who that should be.) And of course you can check that website for all the info that we provide there - meeting minutes, lists of all our committee members, bylaws, etc.

It's a challenge - though a rewarding one - to try to lead an organization of so many talented and professional colleagues, who hold diverse views of what TEA should be and do. I look forward to leading a newly expanded Board in moving us towards an ever more successful organization that you can all take pride in. I will continue to work hard on your behalf to make that happen.

Call for TEA Wastewater Productivity Contributions

As a result of recent conversations with Wastewater management, we are going to gather information for an article in the "Productivity Pipeline" that will highlight all the valuable contributions our members have already made to Wastewater productivity. Whether or not member actions have qualified under the current Productivity Fund, please send your examples of how TEA members have contributed to savings for Wastewater to Eric Mandel (eric.mandel@metrokc.gov) so that I can gather them for this article. All I really need is a brief description, the documented savings achieved, and whether or not it qualified for the Productivity Fund. Thanks!

November Meeting Schedule

Oct 31 All day WW Negotiations
Nov  1 WW Negotiations (if needed)
Nov  1 Transit Negotiating Committee (12-1, 4G)
Nov 3 Board Business Meeting (12-1pm, 4G, King Street Center)
Nov 8 Transit Negotiating Committee (12-1, 4G)
Nov 10 Board Business Meeting (12-1pm, 4G, King Street Center)
Nov 11 HOLIDAY (Veterans Day)
Nov 15 Transit Negotiating Team (12-1, 4G)
Nov 16 Annual TEA Meeting
(12-1 pm, Chinook/King Conference Rooms on 6th floor, King Street Center)
Nov 17 Board Business Meeting (12-1pm, 4G, King Street Center)
Nov 22 Transit Negotiating Committee (12-1, 4G)
Nov 24 & 25 HOLIDAY (Thanksgiving)
Nov 29 Transit Negotiating Committee (12-1, 4G)