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  tea » archives ยป October 26, 2011 email:  


1. October and November Monthly Member Meetings

The October and November Monthly Member Meetings will be combined in early November to accommodate the Thanksgiving holidays.

2. Bargaining updates

Wastewater Contracts

The last bargaining session was on September 19. We are currently reviewing salary information and the next bargaining session is on November 2.

Transit Contract Update

The first bargaining session was on March 31st 2011 following the vote with the Teamsters. The Bargaining Team continued to meet regularly with the County to evaluate our existing contract language and negotiating changes through July 12th. Eventually the issues were narrowed to economic ones and we could no longer find agreement. Together with the County, we requested mediation.

Our first session with PERC Mediator, Ken Latch, was on August 17th. At the start of mediation, we estimated that the sides were about 2% apart. However, by the end of the first day it became clear that we were nearly 4% apart after it was discovered that the County had not adequately explained their COLA proposal during bargaining. During mediation, the County explained that their 2012 cost of living (COLA) formula was not based on the regular Seattle CPI formula which had been adopted by the last two arbitrators but was based on a different, regressive formula.

The County presented the new formula and explained that several other unions had already agreed to this formula for their 2012 COLA. The Bargaining Team reviewed the new COLA formula and determined that it resulted in an across-the-board pay cut to all Transit members. The Bargaining Team concluded that this would be unacceptable to the members. At this point, the mediator realized that both sides were at an impasse and decided to certify our contract for arbitration in a letter dated September 29th.

Deciding to move for arbitration was not an easy decision; however, it was made with respect to member’s interest to move toward getting the best contract (and retroactive pay) in the shortest possible time frame. Our goal is to run parallel paths so that while we are on the path to arbitration we are still open to discussing any and all open contract items with the County. The new COLA formula proposed by the County roughly cuts the 2012 COLA in half. The traditional CPI formula in our contract has been adopted by two different arbitrators and we think it is unlikely that a different arbitrator is going to order a different COLA formula.

At this point, the selection of the arbitrator and the scheduling the hearing is underway. Once we have the dates for the arbitration hearing we will prepare a tentative schedule for discussion.

If you have any questions or comments, please direct them to the current Bargaining Chair, Elizabeth Wright. You may also email her at


3. Fundraising for Schools

Request for Soup Labels and Box Tops for Education

Hi, my daughter’s Elementary School needs your help.

As you are probably aware, schools everywhere are hurting for lack of funding. Our PTA at the Martha Lake Elementary School in Lynnwood is especially overwhelmed as it is the largest enrollment elementary school in our district. Please collect your Box Tops and Soup Labels from labels and packaging and deposit them in the envelopes / displays that are located on the refrigerators in the lunchrooms. You can see pictures of the labels on those displays. (Thanks to Valerie G. for recognizing the newest corporate participant, Avery Labels! )

Thanks to you all, in advance, for your participation!

Best regards, Mark Hurston

TEA Board

Adé Franklin, President
Ken Madden, Vice President
Roger Browne, Secretary
Jerry Williams, Treasurer
John Phillips, Wastewater Bargaining Chair
Elizabeth Wright, Transit Bargaining Chair
Alton Gaskill, Council of Reps. Chair