T E A
T i m e s
September 10 2009
Meet the Candidates - Two Q&A Sessions
1. Officer Elections
In accordance with the TEA Bylaws, Board elections are held at the Annual Meeting in September. The Board has set the date for the 2009 Annual Meeting on September 16th. This year, the following officer positions are open for election:
Position descriptions (roles and responsibilities) and election rules are available in the TEA Bylaws which are posted on the TEA website.
Candidate statements are included in this edition of the TEA Times. Candidates also have the option to attend a candidate forum prior to the Annual Meeting. Ballots will be distributed at least 5 work days prior to the Annual Meeting in accordance with the TEA Bylaws. Volunteers at the Annual Meeting will tally the ballots.
Proxy forms are available for those who will be unavailable to vote in person between now and September 16th. If you have any questions regarding the election process, please contact TEA Secretary Ken Madden.
2. Candidate Statements
John Phillips for Wastewater Bargaining Chair
I am running for Wastewater Bargaining Chair to do my best to improve the process of negotiating contracts with the County. I also want to facilitate more involvement in the negotiating process with members and improve the communication from the bargaining team to bargaining committee to members at large.
I have spent the last year bargaining the current contract, with the furlough and new health benefits. It has been a trying process and I see that TEA's relationship with the County negotiators is strained. TEA needs to improve on our negotiating tactics and look for more common ground with management and County negotiators. During my time on the negotiating team, TEA has already begun to solidify a positive relationship with the County negotiators. I have participated actively in the discussions and looked for a common understanding of the County's needs and TEA's needs. I worked on alternative ideas and processes with the County negotiators, TEA's bargaining team and the State mediator. During which time our contract went from a virtual stalemate to a revised and agreed upon contract that I recommend our members accept and ratify in the very near future.
The Bargaining Chair must also communicate with the members. It is essential for the Bargaining Chair to communicate actively with the bargaining committee and the membership at large. The Bargaining Chair must be able to provide information on the County's desires to the members and committee. As the Chair of the Council of Representatives, I used that body to pass along information to the workgroup representatives. I provided the representatives with material and information to keep their workgroups informed. Under my leadership, the representatives became key to the boards decision making by communicating from the members to the board and back again. The Council is a timely and efficient way to make sure each workgroup understood the issues facing TEA and communicated to the Council and the board. During the furlough discussion, I lead a membership meeting at the request of the Council, on the furloughs and reported back to the board. While everyone didn't agree with the decision, everyone's voice was heard.
I will continue to do the same types of meetings as the bargaining chair, especially during the pre-bargaining phase when the issues for the next contract need to be identified and prepared for the first bargaining sessions.
The Bargaining Chair is key to the Duty of Representation that is TEA's obligation, by law, to negotiate a fair and equitable contract. It is also TEA's responsibility to make sure that actions by the County are legal and just to the members. TEA also has the legal obligation to bargain in good faith with the County, respond actively to requests and communicate our desires back to the County in a timely fashion.
The Bargaining Chair is also responsible for enforcing the current contract. The Bargaining Chair and the Vice- President should work closely together to resolve grievances and represent the individual members when issues arise. I have worked hard to be available to members when they are being disciplined, have questions about their rights and talk openly to human resources and Wastewater management about issues. Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs) filed with Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) are a last resort and I will make a strong effort to try and resolve these issues by communicating with management and the County so TEA doesn't have to resort to the ULPs as often.
I will provide TEA members with the most experience and open representation on the board and as the Bargaining Chair and I ask for your vote on September 16. Thank you.
I, Bill Wilbert, Supervisor of the Regulatory Compliance and Land Acquisitions Unit, am running for the Wastewater Bargaining Chair to promote change as part of the slate, Campaign for Better Representation.
As a seasoned negotiator, I can represent the organization at the bargaining table. I will do this with less reliance on legal gimmicks and instead base negotiations on a platform of good faith, facts, and the sincere belief that it is in the best interest of everyone to be fair and reasonable. If elected, you will see quicker resolution of the pending contracts with the county. I will also seek changes to TEA's bylaws and attitude towards members.
I have not found TEA to be either fully transparent or responsive to the needs of members. The problems stem from how the organization is structured - a volunteer based board that relies on legal opinions to conduct business. I also believe that TEA can be a cost effective form of representation if run correctly.
The primary reason for a Union or Association is to represent the members. My expectation is that our elected officers act on the wishes of the majority. I find it unacceptable that board members consider the wishes of a majority of the members (either a unit or a complete bargaining entity like the supervisors) to be "advisory". I also find it unacceptable that members are not given an opportunity to have a voice by voting on significant issues.
I will insist that TEA listens to members and that it competes for your dues by being better than the competition. If TEA cannot compete, then the members should be given the cost benefit analysis of what it would take to be competitive or properly evaluate the options including a merger.
You deserve better communication, more input, and more respect for your democratic rights! I pledge to openly and frequently communicate with you on important issues, and change the way we have been doing business. Moreover, I believe in giving you a direct and democratic voice in important issues. I ask that you support me and the slate I'm part of to make a positive change in TEA.
Hi fellow TEA members, I'm Ron Moattar and I would like to represent you as your next Transit Bargaining Chair. I'm running as part of the Campaign for Better Representation along with three of your colleagues who would like to have greater responsiveness and transparency from our Board.
In the last 17 years I have held the positions of Project Control Engineer and project Manager for Transit's Design and Construction section at King County. Prior to my employment at King County I was working at Sverdrup Corporation as an international consultant and construction manager. I have a degree in Construction Management. In all of my work, I have used my skills in team building, organization, communication, negotiation and professionalism to deliver successful projects.
Why am I running?
In this new political and economic environment, now is the time to take a more cooperative and less confrontational approach to negotiating with King County to maximize our gains and minimize our losses in all aspects/issues affecting your work life and livelihoods.
Jerry Williams for Transit Bargaining Chair
I work in Transit Design and Construction as a Construction Manager IV and serve as your current Transit Bargaining Chair. I believe that the primary duty of TEA is to represent the interest of the membership and pursue the best collective bargaining agreement possible. I work closely with the Transit Bargaining Team members and communicate regularly with members on progress during bargaining.
Last year we were successful in settling the arbitration and we all received a significant retro payment for the contract period 2005 - 2007. The Transit Bargaining Team went to arbitration because the Transit membership rejected the County's contract offer; the arbitration award was significantly more for most TEA members in Transit.
During the past two years, the Transit Bargaining Team and I have had many challenges to overcome. We aggressively engage the County prior to going to arbitration in hope of negotiating changes that would satisfy the membership and warrant a successful contract vote. But the County was unwilling to negotiate further. This resulted in the memberships overwhelming rejection of the 2005-2007 Contract and the fact we were headed for arbitration. Many TEA members testified at the hearing and presented evidence regarding the high level of work that TEA members in Transit perform. As a result, the arbitrator ruled in our favor on the majority of outstanding issues.
Once we completed the arbitration and received the ruling and retro payment, I moved quickly to initiate the next round of negotiations for the 2008 -2010 contract. The Bargaining Team and I have presented an opening proposal to the County. We were making excellent progress toward our next contract before the Teamsters filed a petition for representation. We could restart contract negotiations immediately if the Teamsters were to withdraw their petition.
Please join me in working for improved pay and working conditions under the current low-cost, member-driven TEA model. Remember, a vote for my opponent is a vote for high-cost representation by the Teamsters. Retain local control of your union. Vote for a TEA member, not a Teamster.
Terry Browne for TEA Treasurer
I am in my 22nd year of working as a drafter with Metro/King County. I am the current treasurer of TEA and I want your vote to be the treasurer for the next 2 years.
TEA was created because employees were not happy with being represented by a traditional labor union where the dues are high and the pension fund is redundant . (For 18 years I have participated in the county's deferred compensation fund and I have no desire for yet another pension fund.) I really enjoy talking with and explaining TEA to the new members. TEA is a worker owned and managed union. I am passionate about TEA and I want to continue representing you. These are difficult times to be an employee at King County with the daily political comments regarding the budget shortfalls. I don't believe any other union could represent me better.
The Treasurer for TEA makes deposits of the dues and assessments collected from the members, balances the checking account, tracks the credits and debits on Quicken, writes checks with the President for the bills, oversees the yearly audit, and helps create a 2 year financial plan. I am in the process of devising a suggested financial plan for the next 2 years to be voted on at the annual meeting in September.
A vote for me is a vote for TEA!
Hi fellow TEA Members, I'm Pete Letourneau and I would like to represent you as your next Treasurer. I'm running as part of the Campaign for Better Representation along with three of your colleagues who would like to have greater responsiveness and transparency from our Board.
My educational credentials and more than 27 years of work experience in financial, budgeting and accounting positions (currently with the Brightwater project) would be brought to the position of TEA Treasurer.
To start, I would like to express my appreciation for those who worked hard to bring vital representation to those of us in both Transit and Wastewater. However, we are entering a new era with our workforce and the challenges the County will face. We need a fresh perspective to work with the membership and with the County. I want to be part of that new, fresh wave that will further the goals and aspirations of the membership: fair and equitable treatment by the County.
Among my concerns are, most importantly, representative decision making on the TEA Board. The issue that finally moved me to action was the attempt by a large group (100+ TEA members) last fall who asked that a vote by all members be included in decision-making on whether TEA should accept the County's 2009 furlough proposal. We were flatly told by the Board that it was their decision alone. What upsets me is the current Board's disregard for the principle that the leadership must seek meaningful input of all its members.
We are fast approaching a new decision point on furloughs the county may well implement in 2010. I want to ensure your input on important impacts to your livelihood by changing the leadership to a more positive and inclusive approach. I urge you to vote for me and our ticket to achieve a real change in the way we do business. If elected to the TEA Board I will advocate for membership input to decision making and will personally solicit input and participation from you, the members of our association.
I'm asking you to please consider my qualifications and desire to provide inclusive and democratic processes to key decisions made on behalf of TEA's membership. You deserve better communication, more input, and more respect for your democratic rights! I pledge to openly and frequently communicate with you on important issues, and change the way we have been doing business. I ask that you support me and the slate I'm part of to make a positive change in TEA.
Hello. My name is Jan Knudson and I am a candidate for Chair of the Council of Representatives for TEA. I am part of the Campaign for Better Representation slate; we are running together in an effort to provide members more open dialogue and communication, more transparency, and more democracy on the Board.
I have chosen to run for this position because of my belief in group process and open communication, especially when decisions affecting our livelihoods and families are at stake. I have felt the furloughs and lack of COLA deeply, and I want to facilitate discussions that can resolve these issues to our members' benefit. As Chair of the Council of Representatives, I will come to you asking for your input in an open exchange of ideas. My job is to advocate the Council's discussions and recommendations to the Board and provide genuine two way communication between you, the TEA members, and your representatives.
I have been a project manager for 30 years with known skills in communication, negotiation and teambuilding. I have been sought out for jobs requiring these skills in multi-agency and multi-discipline environments. I have worked in the private and public sectors, and have been with King County for over 20 years.
You deserve better communication, more input, and more respect for your democratic rights. I ask that you support me and the slate I'm part of to make a positive change in TEA. Thank you.
I have spent the past 6- years serving as the TEA work group Representative for WTD Engineering. I feel I have communicated well with everyone in my group about the issues that arise in the Council of Representative meetings. Many people from other work groups often ask me questions about TEA and I am happy to pass on the information that I know. I attend many TEA Board meetings to stay informed.
I'm a strong supporter and active member of TEA. When TEA has a vote such as the recent VEBA, I canvassed the 5th floor making sure everyone had a ballot. I informed them where they could find more information and reminded them of the vote dead line. I also collected ballots. As the Council Chair of Representatives I want to assure you that I will continue to work with and for all members, Transit and Wastewater. I will encourage your Representative to show up so they can stay informed and thus inform each of you.
It will be my role to communicate all information to the Representatives. It will also be my roll to receive feed back from you through your Representatives and assure the feed back from all of you is heard by everyone on the Board.
I ask for your vote to be the next Council of Chair Representative.
We regret to inform you that Shoji Oiye has lost his battle with cancer. We send our collective condolences to his family and friends outside the workplace. Shoji was a Project Control Engineer working for the East Construction Office in the Wastewater Treatment Division.
3. September Meeting Schedule
September 9 - TEA Board Meeting, 12-1, KSC 4G September 10 - Candidate Forum, 12-1, Gold Rush Museum (2nd & Jackson St) September 10 - Ballots Distributed to Council of Reps at Candidate Forum September 15 - Candidate Forum, 12-1, 2A/B, KSC September 16 - TEA Annual Member Meeting, 12-1, KSC, 603/604 September 22 - TEA Grievance Committee Meeting
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