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T i m e s

July 13 2009


  1. Wastewater Contract Mediation
  2. VEBA Vote
  3. TEA Meeting Calendar - July

1.  Wastewater Contract Mediation

The Wastewater Bargaining Team has reached tentative agreement on a contract package with King County.  Both sides are in the process of drafting the final version for a ratification vote by the Staff Bargaining Unit.  The main highlights are COLA retroactive back to January 1, 2009; the addition of Benefit Time (BT), including an annual cash out provision; and a one-time conversion of up to 100 hours of sick leave to BT to front load the balance.  We have agreed to add a third-party fact-finding mediator (PERC) review to future salary surveys if the parties are unable to reach agreement.  The process is non-binding, but does result in a published report.

An election timeline will be published as soon as the Tentative Agreement is complete.

2.  VEBA Vote

King County Benefits has clarified its position on the VEBA $50 option to say it will also report that money to PERS.  The confusion has to do with the IRS ruling which says VEBA contributions are not reported on the W-2, but are still subject to Medicare and Social Security deductions, and the Union MOA which says the contribution gets deducted from Salary (which is the rate you get paid, not the pay check).  According to the VEBA plan administrator, it's up to how King County payroll treats it.  This may change your opinion on whether it is worth it to you personally.  Note that you cannot opt in or out individually; the vote results are "by Bargaining Unit".  If approved, all employees in a bargaining unit will be setting $600 per year aside in the HRA-VEBA.  Also consider that VEBA funds are not guaranteed; they do as well or as poorly as the investment vehicle they are placed in.

Please note:  King County Labor Relations Manager Jim Johnson reports that he does not know why the $50 option should be available or not available to all TEA members; he advises that we all vote, and let benefits sort out later if the unit is eligible.  Thus, the ballot will changed to allow all TEA members to vote.  The revised ballot will be available from work-group representatives.

More information on VEBA will be discussed at the July 15th TEA meeting.

You can learn more about VEBA at http://www.kingcounty.gov/employees/benefits/VEBAvote.aspx

3.  TEA Meeting Calendar - July

  July 15 - TEA Monthly Member Meeting, 12-1, King Street Center, 603/604
  July 30 - TEA Grievance Committee Meeting		

TEA Board

  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