tea » tea times: May 15 2004 email: teaseattle  


T i m e s

May 15 2004

May Meeting Schedule

May 17 WTD North Satellite Constr. (NSC) Briefing (10am)
May 17 WTD Contract Negotiation Team (12-1pm)
May 18 TEA Business Meeting (King St. Center, 5F), 12-1pm
May 19 WTD East Satellite Constr. (ESC) Briefing (7:30am)
May 19 TEA Regular Meeting (Elliott Bay Cafe), 12-1pm
May 20 WTD South Plant Satellite Constr. Briefing (7:30am)
May 24 WTD Contract Negotiation Team (12-1pm)
May 25 TEA Business Meeting (King St. Center, 5F), 12-1pm

Agenda for monthly TEA Meeting - May 19th

  • Call to Order
  • Treasurer's Report
  • Grievance Committee Appointments
  • Update on Contract Negotiations
  • Proposed Changes to Initial Assessment for Members hired since 4/13/01
  • Issues for the Good of the Order

Proposed Changes to Initial Special Assessment (Discussion Only)

The proposed changes are being introduced to the TEA membership at the May monthly meeting. The proposals will be then voted on at the June monthly meeting.


Two actions are proposed to modify TEA policy. The first proposal addresses concerns raised by TEA members that the current adopted dues structure places an inequitable burden on new TEA members. The concern is that new TEA members hired since recognition are obligated for an assessment which is calculated back to the date of TEA recognition, a period of time for which they were not TEA members and had no opportunity to make voluntary contributions. The proposed change addresses this by comparing a pro-rated obligation (calculated based on time in the bargaining unit) against a minimum assessment and requiring the greater of the two.

The second action is an editorial correction to the existing policy to clarify the formula for calculating the special assessment; changing "gross wages" to "base wages."

(To see the Dues-Special Assessment policy adopted by members at the 9/9/03 meeting and amended at the 2/25/04 meeting, refer to TEA's web site www.teaseattle.org)

Status of Contract Negotiations


The last mediation session was held on February 18, 2004. Following that meeting, King County prepared to unilaterally implement a contract. However, the State mediator did not support King County's position that negotiations were at an impass. In addition, TEA leaders held several meetings with King County Council members and continued to have side discussions with key County negotiators. These meetings have proven productive. While a new mediation date is not yet scheduled, it may be possible to craft an agreement without further mediation. Details will be discussed at the monthly meeting. In addition, Roger Browne and Ken Madden and I will be visiting construction satellite offices to provide updates on negotiation to members at remote office locations. If you have any questions about WTD negotiations, contact the negotiating team members listed on the TEA website.


The second week of Arbitration was held on April 28 and concluded on the 29th. The County opened with a defense of their wage proposal supported by testimony and exhibits. TEA used this opportunity to present additional information in support of our wage proposal. Many TEA members took advantage of the opportunity to witness a portion of the proceedings.

The schedule for wrap-up of arbitration is as follows:

  1. Attorneys for both TEA and the County have until the end of June to submit briefs to the Arbitrator.
  2. The Arbitrator then has 60-90 days to review the briefs and to prepare his decision on the wage package, which is binding. (We anticipate this will be completed by the end of September.)
  3. Upon receipt of the Arbitrator's decision, the County will incorporate his decision with the non-wage package (recently approved by Transit TEA members). The final contract will be made available to all Transit TEA members. (Note: because this contract went through interest arbitration, it is binding and will not go to the King County Council for ratification.)

Questions? Contact any member of the Transit Negotiating Team (Dave Crippen, Elizabeth Morgan, Nancy Gordon, Ken Madden or Paul Miller).

Solicitation for Participation in the TEA Council of Representatives

We are requesting volunteers from the following workgroups because to date no one in these work units currently serve on the TEA Council of Representatives:

WTD Program Management unit (in Major CIP Section)
WTD Brightwater Treatment Project (in Major CIP Section)
WTD Conveyance and CSO Control Projects group (in Major CIP Section)
WTD Construction Mgmt-Renton Satellite (Asset Management Section)

While the responsibilities are minimal (quarterly Council meetings and requested attendance at the monthly general meetings), TEA does rely to a great extent on communications through the Council, and there are several issues that affect various work groups for which we are lacking the two-way communication feedback a Representative provides. Please consider fulfilling this role.

Please let acting Council Chair Victoria Beach (263-6480) know if you are interested in being the Council Representative for your unit. Thanks!

WTD Assessment Project (Wastewater only)

All Wastewater Division employees received an email on May 3rd (or had posted at their worksite a copy of) the Productivity Pipeline (Vol. 5 No. 4). It described an assessment effort just begun identifying our agency practices, which erode - or build - trust and collaboration. Per the notice, "The assessment will identify methods used to communicate and work together to find out what may be contributing to a lack of trust and collaboration between labor and management at all levels of the organization." The questions are open-ended and intended to allow participants to be able to discuss anything that they feel keeps us from doing the best work we can, or that they have felt is working well.

TEA has been one of the labor unions working together with management on this effort in an ongoing Productivity Initiative Mediation Group. As such, we are asking for and encouraging your participation in this assessment effort. As the announcement noted, there will be purely voluntary small group meetings offered - separate from supervisors, who have their own meetings - to give feedback to neutral mediators. Additionally, you can schedule individual interviews on request if you feel things are not adequately covered in a group meeting by calling Project Coordinator Ann McBroom at 205-6454.

Ann is the only mediator working for King County, and is part of the Alternative Dispute Resolution service. This is an independent agency that works with labor and County agencies, and is not affiliated with or under the County's Office of Human Resources. (They instead report directly to the Executive.) All group and individual interviews will be kept confidential and the resulting report will be available to all (target date end of July), and will not identify any individuals discussed.

Should you have any questions please contact your TEA Council of Representative, TEA Treasurer Eric Mandel, or Ann McBroom. Look for further announcements of group interview times soon.

Donation of Sick/Vacation Leave Requested

The following TEA members are in need of donated sick leave or vacation leave. Your help would be greatly appreciated. If you are interested in helping, please obtain a donation form from the Administrative Assistant for your work group.

For further information on King County leave donation policy, refer to the King County Personnel Guidelines on donating sick or vacation time - go to Microsoft Outlook, click on "Public Folders/All Public Folders"; Human Resources; Policies & Guidelines; Personnel Guidelines.

  • John Whitney (TR) is having back surgery May 28th and will be out on medical leave for at least a month.
  • Kathy Mathena (WTD) is out on extended medical leave due to job injury.