tea » tea times: March 26 2008 email: teaseattle  


T i m e s

March 26 2008


  1. April Meeting Schedule
  2. Message to TEA Members regarding Transit Supervisors
  3. Transit Staff Arbitration
  4. WW Contract Bargaining Update

1. April Meeting Schedule

    April  2 ..... Board Meeting, 12-1, KSC 4G
    April  9 ..... Board Meeting, 12-1, KSC 4G
    April 10 ..... Council of Reps, 12-1, KSC 8J
    April 14-18 .. Arbitration for Transit Staff held at office of Summit Law Group, 
                   Suite 1000, 315 Fifth Ave S. (corner of 5th and Jackson)
    April 22 ..... Grievance Committee
    April 23 ..... Monthly Meeting 12-1, 5 B/C

2. Message to TEA Members regarding Transit Supervisors

This message is intended to answer the questions raised at the TEA Monthly meeting on March 19th.

First, during the meeting, there was a question whether the Transit Staff Arbitration would be delayed as a result of TEA questioning the Supervisors process to join Teamsters 117 and the answer is no. Cathleen Callahan, Executive Director of PERC, has sent a letter, dated March 19, 2008, to the Teamsters denying their request to intervene in the arbitration. A copy of the letter is posted on the TEA bulletin board in the lunchroom, 4th floor KSC.

Second, there was a question raised whether the TEA Board had directed TEA's attorney to file a challenge to the proposed Teamster bargaining unit of Supervisors and the answer is yes. The TEA Board discussed the issue at several Board meetings and the discussion raised questions regarding the work done by the Supervisor Engineer V's and VI's and the work done by the Staff Engineer V's and VI's. In addition, there were outstanding questions about the division of work between Staff and Supervisors that King County had raised back in 2000 when TEA was recognized but had never been resolved. Resolution was not a high priority as long as TEA represented both work units. With the Supervisors leaving TEA to join another union, the probability of multiple grievances over these issues was too high to ignore.. The Board decided it would be best to resolve the questions now, before the divorce was final. The organization that adjudicates these issues is PERC.

In addition, the TEA Board was concerned about the financial implications that the decision to leave TEA would have on the Supervisor Engineer V's since the TEA contract that the Supervisors negotiated with the County contains a re-opener clause that is tied to the Arbitration settlement for the Staff Engineer V's. Several of the Supervisors were contacted by TEA President Roger Browne to make sure they understood the financial implications of their decision.

Since the Supervisors often perform the same duties as Staff (design engineering, project management, etc.), departing from TEA raises the issue of skimming of work from the Staff Engineers in TEA and creates complications for the Staff engineers who would still be represented by TEA. This could impact the Staff bargaining unit in the pending arbitration case as well as in the years beyond. The Board decided this issue needed to be addressed by PERC in a way that was consistent with the interests of the membership as a whole. It was suggested at the meeting that TEA's attorney delayed filing a hearing brief; this is simply not true. The transcript from the hearing examiner will not be available from the Court Reporter until April 7. At that time, TEA and King County will both be making final preparations for Arbitration, which is scheduled for the next week, April 14-18. This is a substantial amount of work and the week before Arbitration has been blocked out for months for the effort. At the hearing, the Teamster attorney and TEA's attorney both agreed to submit hearing briefs to PERC by May 5, which is less than the 30 days PERC typically allows. The TEA Board is very interested in working collaboratively with the Supervisors on a proposal that meets their desired objective and at the same time minimizes any unintended negative impacts to the staff members. The TEA Board would like to see the Transit Supervisors get what they want and every Board member knows it's in the best interest of all TEA to reach an amicable settlement with the Supervisors. The TEA Board looks forward to further discussions on this topic with everyone affected by the decision.

3. Transit Staff Contract Arbitration

The arbitration for the Transit Staff contract is scheduled for the week of April 14-18. The Arbitration hearing will be held at the Summit Law Group office located in the office building at the corner of 5th and Jackson St. (315 Fifth Ave. S., Suite 1000). The Arbitration is a public meeting and is open to all TEA members who wish to attend. Seating for observers will be limited to chairs around the perimeter of the conference room. Those planning to attend should coordinate that time within their work group.

4. WW Bargaining Update

The WW Bargaining team had a bargaining session with the County on March 18, 2008. TEA presented a list of items that it wants to address during bargaining. This was not TEA's official opening proposal. The enclosed list, which was given to the County, is a product of the survey sent out to the Wastewater Bargaining Unit members.

TEA Wastewater Bargaining Units
July 2008 to June 2011 Contract - Opening Bargaining Position

Issues to be bargained:

  1. Classification rewrites (Feb-April rewrite, May TEA review, June Human Resources Department (HRD) adoption)
  2. Salary Study (Admin reopener & Supervisor - Management Study) (Feb-April data gathering, May match comparable to new classifications, June bargain salaries)
  3. Management Study effects on Supervisor Salaries
  4. Certification updates - Apply 21.62 logic to all professional certification/license
  5. Modify COLA formula/index
  6. HEALTH INSURANCE UPON RETIREMENT (PEBB): State of Washington contributes $164 per month per employee & employees can remain with Washington State sponsored Plans after age 65.
  7. Replace merit pay with longevity pay or 5% maximum (per Personnel Guidelines)
  8. County Leave By-Back options:
    CASH OUT - vacation leave (VL)
    CASH OUT - sick leave (SL) on separation
    CASH OUT - Convert SL greater than 100 hrs to VL up to a maximum of 120 hours
    CASH OUT - Employees who have taken at least two weeks of PTO in the preceding twelve months may cash out PTO time (under procedures detailed in Port Policy HR-5, Leaves)

Also discussed was establishing a joint TEA and County working group to produce classification changes and sharing salary survey data. The working group has its first meeting scheduled on March 31, 2008. Classification rewrites produced during the last salary survey are being circulated to the affected work groups with a request to make them current.

TEA Board

  • Roger Browne, President
  • Ade Franklin, Vice President
  • Ken Madden, Secretary
  • Terry Browne, Treasurer
  • Eric Davison, Wastewater Bargaining Chair
  • Jerry Williams, Transit Bargaining Chair
  • John Phillips, Council of Reps. Chair