T E A
T i m e s
October 30 2008
Special TEA Meeting on Furloughs
Thursday, 11/6, KSC 3D/E
The TEA Council of Representatives will host a Special Meeting on Thurs., 11/6, 3D/E, to
discuss the County's furlough proposal. At their meeting last week, the Council members
voted to schedule this Special TEA Meeting to discuss the proposal and gather your input.
The meeting location is smaller than the 8th floor meeting room (which unfortunately is unavailable),
so please be considerate of tight meeting space.
King County's Furlough Proposal
The King County Coalition of Unions recently bargained a tentative agreement with King County
regarding furloughs. Here is the text of that agreement:
King County 2009 Mandated Leave Tentative Agreement 10/27/08
BY AND BETWEEN KING COUNTY AND
MEMBERS OF THE KING COUNTY COALITION OF UNIONS
ADDRESSING THE 2009 BUDGET CRISIS
WHEREAS the County is experiencing a financial emergency,
WHEREAS, effective January 1, 2009, the County will eliminate hundreds of positions;
WHEREAS a majority of the County's collective bargaining agreements provide for
yearly increases based on 90% of the September to September Urban Wage Earners and
Clerical Workers Consumer Price index (CPI);
WHEREAS the CPI has historically produced wage increases of between 2% and 3%;
WHEREAS, as the result of the national financial crisis, the County's revenues are
significantly restricted while, simultaneously, the CPI will dictate a cost of living
adjustment established at 4.88% for 2009;
WHEREAS substantially shutting down all but essential County services for ten days
would produce significant savings and preserve employees' COLA, merit and step pay;
WHEREAS the parties will through this agreement help to preserve essential services and
reduce the layoffs necessary during 2009.
NOW THEREFORE, King County and the undersigned unions agree as follows.
The County will substantially shut down most of its facilities on the following days the during the
2009 calendar year requiring mandated leave by all eligible County employees:
Friday, January 2, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Employees that regularly work 80 hours in a two-week pay period will take the above-referenced days off,
unpaid, to the extent that they are regularly scheduled to work on those days. To the extent that one or
more of the above-referenced days falls on a regularly scheduled day off, the affected employee will
schedule alternate furlough day(s) such that the amount of furlough equates to an 80 hour furlough.
Employees that regularly work less than 80 hours in a two week pay period will be furloughed on a prorated
basis. Regular holiday pay will not be impacted.
Employees in a position earning $16.92 per hour or less during the pay period of a
mandated leave day may, for that mandated leave day, use their vacation leave or accept
donated vacation leave to cover their pay for that day.
With approval from management, employees may voluntarily donate vacation
leave to employees in a position earning $16.92 per hour or less or below during the pay
period of a mandated leave day for the sole purpose of helping these employees preserve
their pay during the mandated leave. Unused donated leave will remain with the donee
and will not revert back to the donor.
Employees enrolled in the PERS 1 or PERS 2 program who submit letters of
intent to retire to the County during calendar years 2009 or 2010 may, for their mandated
leave days, use vacation leave. Should any employee who submits such notice not retire
during 2009 or 2010, an additional amount of vacation, equal to the number of vacation
days that were used for mandated leave in 2009, will be deducted from their leave banks
at the end of the respective calendar year.
Employees may not perform County work while on a mandated leave day or
work additional hours during the workweek to make up for the mandated leave time.
Mandatory unpaid leave during the County's shut-down days is non-compensable time
under the Washington Minimum Wage Act (WMWA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act
(FLSA) and will not count as hours worked towards the overtime threshold; provided that
unique issues will be dealt with pursuant to paragraph 11.
FLSA exempt employees may not work time in excess of a standard schedule
during the weeks that contain mandated leave days. FLSA exempt employees must
record the days and hours they worked and the days and hours they did not work during
pay periods including a mandatory leave day.
Vacation and sick leave accruals will continue during mandated leave days.
Where an employee is denied vacation time as the result of the Department's necessity to
schedule mandated leave time, the employee may carry over vacation in excess of the
Medical, dental, vision and any other insured benefits will be unaffected by the
mandated leave except where an employee is on unpaid status for 30 consecutive days or
Mandatory unpaid leave will not count as a break in service and shall not affect
seniority or step advancement. Probationary periods will not be impacted in that
mandatory leave days will not add to the length of probation.
The applicable union and departmental management will meet as necessary to
discuss any other issues related to the implementation of the mandatory leave days, with
the goal that all eligible employees will serve equitable mandated leaves. Discussions
may include how to implement the mandated leave for employees on alternative work
schedules or part-time employees.
With approval from management, employees will be permitted to take additional
unpaid leave beyond the established mandatory leave days. FLSA- exempt employees
must take voluntary unpaid leave in full workweek increments. Hourly employees may
take voluntary unpaid leave in hourly increments. Supervisors and managers are strongly
encouraged to approve these requests unless operational needs preclude them from doing
so. However, unpaid leave days should not be granted if it will result in the need for
another employee to work overtime to perform the duties that would otherwise be
completed by the employee taking the unpaid leave day(s) or otherwise result in net loss
of County revenue.
For signatory unions with contracts expired or expiring in 2009, the County will
agree to extend the COLA, merit and step wage provisions through 2010.
To the extent this agreement conflicts with any provisions of collective bargaining
agreements or any County procedures or guidelines, this agreement controls.
By October 30, 2008, the County will produce to the unions a list of furlough ineligible
classifications and work units within the Executive Branch. Furloughs for
employees, classifications and work units within the Executive Branch will be for no less
time and under circumstances not more favorable than the employees furloughed
pursuant to this Agreement. The County may make minor adjustments to the October 30,
2008 list as needed for error, emergent circumstances, or King County Council action.
The County agrees to provide notice to all impacted County employees about the
2009 mandatory leave as soon as practicable.
The County acknowledges and recognizes that as a result of the shut-downs, less
work will be performed and that certain delays and/or reductions in service may result.
Work expectations shall be commensurate with the reduced schedule.
The parties agree that employees furloughed in 2009 will receive the equivalent
of the time on furlough in furlough replacement time. One half of the time will be
awarded in 2010 and one half in 2011, unless the County is in an officially declared and
Council sanctioned financial emergency. Any unused furlough replacement time will
expire at the end of the calendar year in which it was provided.
The County commits that, with respect to the undersigned parties, these furloughs
will avoid additional 2009 layoffs that would otherwise have been necessary. In 2009,
however, the County may need to layoff further employees as a result of changed or
unforeseen circumstances or seasonal business needs.
The parties acknowledge that all parties have fulfilled their obligations to engage
in collective bargaining over the subjects contained in this agreement.
The parties acknowledge that this agreement is subject to approval by the King County Council.
Any dispute regarding the interpretation and/or application of this Agreement
shall be handled pursuant to the terms of the applicable Union's grievance procedure;
provided that if more than one Union has the same or similar dispute, the grievances shall
Please keep in mind that a Coalition Agreement is not binding on TEA. As far as we know, the
Coalition did not attempt to avert a furlough altogether which does not speak well of their advocacy
for their members, but Executive Sims has apparently convinced them that they will only see more layoffs
if they do not agree with this proposal. -RB
Message from TEA Board Members
Apparently the Teamsters are taking a different position on this issue from TEA. For those of you who
heard directly or indirectly from the Teamsters about the County's furlough plans, we want to dispel
the information they provided about your legal rights. The Teamsters have suggested that such a reduction
is a management right and that our contracts offer no protection against such furloughs. We have checked
with our legal counsel and this is simply not true.
Our counsel reminds us that through our successful bargaining efforts we have acquired language that
provides strong protection against any reduction in force. Both the Wastewater and Transit contracts
contain unique clauses that require that the County bring contracted work back in house before any
individuals who can perform such work are laid off. This language may not provide a 100% guarantee
against any single layoff but it comes pretty close to it. As part of the trade-off for permitting
the County to contract out some of our work, we received a commitment to bring that work back in house.
As a practical matter, we do not believe in the face of this contract language that the County can do
either "furloughs" or layoffs for our TEA bargaining units.
Our counsel also notes that the single day reductions that County is discussing are not even legal for
salaried employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act because of the statutory guarantee of the full week's salary.
Although we will work collaboratively with the County whenever possible, we will not do so at our members'
expense. We intend to aggressively enforce our existing contract and our legal rights to the full extent
of the law. We are proud of our professional representation and the resources that they provide.
If the County presents a furlough proposal to TEA we will sit down and listen to them but we will not
allow them to unilaterally impose a reduction in our bargained for salaries.
We will continue to work with our professional counsel to acquire and enforce the best possible contract
even when County management wants us to give in.
Wastewater is in mediation with tentative dates in December and will probably go into next year before we
are done. Transit is awaiting arbitration results and has begun bargaining the next contract (2008-2010).
Transit workers provide essential public services (which is why they have arbitration rights) and may be
further protected from furlough by that status.
Many members in the King County Coalition of Unions were surprised to see that they had "agreed" to conditions
in the paper this morning. They will likely be asked to vote on the Tentative Agreement in the next few days.
We do not know what the outcome will be if they fail to ratify the agreement, but there is a lot of time between now and December 1 when the budget must be approved.
Meantime, we understand that the King County Council is working on its own budget proposals, and we have no
idea what impact those will have.
All of which is to say, we know many of you are worried about the potential for layoff. The County has not
approached TEA with a request to bargain the furlough proposal yet. When they do, we believe that our ability to resist a furlough is very high.
If there are provisions in the agreement that you would like to see TEA agree to (such as voluntary furlough
or donation of vacation time, for example) then the board would like to hear from you.
A Special Meeting is being held November 6th to discuss these issues and perhaps we will know more by then.
We also promised you some text you could consider when writing your individual council members. Here's an
example of what Roger Browne sent to Council Member Phillips and Councilmember Gosset:
We know you consider employees to be an important County resource. Some layoffs are inevitable. Our area of
responsibility is shrinking as areas incorporate. We have reduced the number of parks we must maintain, and so
forth. The current plan which assumes all represented staff will accept a furlough is misguided, however.
Several are fully funded by non-cx revenue streams, as you well know. I urge the council to use its influence,
however subtle, to move the budget proposal in a realistic direction. In particular, the ABT program which won't
pay for itself for more than 15 years, and maybe not at all, could be delayed to help close the gap in the current
budget. This would give us all more breathing room to find a well considered plan that all unions and taxpayers
could support. Another project which could be reconsidered is one that will replace desktop computers with small
communication boxes. The costs of that conversion have been greatly exaggerated to appear to have a benefit.
We believe more analysis is needed.
It's possible that Executive Sim's proposal, which surely is at least partly theatre designed to pressure Olympia
into change taxing provisions, may work. Olympia has a rather large deficit of it's own to reconcile and perhaps
our interests overlap. However, the emotional cost to employees that received pink slips, and those that wonder
how they are going to put food on the table or pay their mortgage with two weeks less pay next year is very high
if this is mostly for show. At the heart of this issue, TEA believes and I suspect most unions believe that
employees should not suffer to make up for bad budgeting and investment decisions by the Executive when other
Thanks for all you do, for the employees and for the citizens of King County
Note: Another possible target for project cancellation is the ferry district which effectively competes with the
State ferry operations. Thanks to TEA member Mike Sands for spotting that one! No doubt there are many more.
Keep your spirits up!! We'll communicate more when we know more.
Looking Ahead: November Meetings
November 5 - TEA Board, 12-1, KSC 4G
November 6 - Special Meeting - KC Furlough Proposal, 3D/E, 12-1
November 6 - TEA Transit Negotiations, 1:30-4:30
November 12 - TEA Board, 12-1, KSC 4G
November 19 - TEA Monthly Member Meeting, 12-1, KSC, 8th Flr Conf Rm
November 25 - TEA Grievance Committee Meeting, 9-10, KSC, 4G
TEA members can post classified ads for free.
Send classified ads to TEA Secretary Ken Madden
Roger Browne, President
Adé 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