From President McNett

WEASO advocates on your behalf not only through the formal grievance process, but also through less-formal interactions such as Labor-Management meetings and other conversations with WEA management. At these less-formal levels, some problems can be dealt with before a grievance is filed and matters that don’t involve contract interpretation or application can be addressed. In some cases, major issues have been resolved. We continue to pursue those issues that remain unaddressed by management. Below is an update on the status of some of the issues being dealt with in Labor-Management:

 

WEA Master Calendar

Armand announced the launch of the master calendar on March 11, but it remains unpopulated. The technology has been in place for quite some time, and we’ve been told that training won’t begin until June at the earliest. WEASO has brought this matter to Labor-Management ten times, first in October 2013 and most recently at the March meeting. It will continue to be a discussion item until the master calendar is functional and available for regular use.

 

Building Safety

WEASO continues to press for appropriate emergency procedures, safety plans and training. Progress stalled when management removed itself from the joint WEA-WEASO safety committee, but it has been re-established recently with a goal of creating procedures and plans for implementation by WEA. WEASO has brought this matter to Labor-Management 11 times between October 2013 and January 2015.

 

Leave Tracking

The emerging leave tracking system was also a topic of prolonged Labor-Management discussion. Though such a system has been required by contract since the fall of 2011, management was not quick to devote the resources to create and implement one. Our IT staff and other colleagues have been working hard to perfect a system since recently receiving management authorization following months of gentle reminders. The leave tracking system has been a topic at Labor-Management six times this year.

 

Office 365

Office 365 was installed on our network late last fall by our IT colleagues and includes tools that facilitate communication, collaboration, and more accessible file storage. Over the last several months, WEASO has asked within the Joint Technology Committee and at Labor-Management for training opportunities to allow staff to use these tools. Management has permitted IT staff to explore some options and has promised that training will occur in the next few months, perhaps in coordination with the installation of the new phone system at HQ.

Other issues are being pursued by your WEASO officers, including staffing, the use of union vendors, the computer replacement rotation, single employer issues, and the use of consultants and interns. WEASO will continue to use all available forums, including Labor-Management, the grievance process, and collective bargaining to represent your interests and rights. The work you do is vital to public education and the labor movement, and you deserve to be treated well in return for your valuable contributions.

May 11 WEASO Executive Board Summary

Highlights:

  • We’ve received a report on the overtime grievance. The grievance committee will decide soon how to handle.
  • There was discussion around the recommendations from the Diversity Committee. We will bring the discussion to the next meeting with WEA managers regarding training opportunities.
  • WEA has drafted an agreement to settle non compliance issues with Yakima Education Association. One item of concern involves a specific number of hours per month that staff will be required to provide to YEA. WEASO knows this is highly problematic because our work cannot be broken down to a formula. One size does not fit all. As we all know, some months require more attention and time than others. WEASO bargaining may need to address parts of the agreement that affect compliance with the WEASO contract. WEA MidState’s union value-driven Executive Board unanimously rejected YEA’s attempt to bully settlement out of the WEA Board.
  • WEA Executive Director Armand Tiberio and WEASO Bargaining Chair Mike Horner had some informal conversations around how negotiations could proceed. Our WEASO bargaining will assess the latest priorities survey next week in preparation for our first formal session June 3. WEASO remains committed to addressing our leader-driven/member-driving priorities based on the union values represented by our members.
WEA RA = Shared Union Values

Last month’s 2015 WEA Representative Assembly was an opportunity for WEASO members to share our commitment to union values with our brothers and sister union members of WEA. WEASO members had a strong representation at the RA — in the planning and logistics managed by our fabulous Associate staff, Communications staff and WEA HQ and field staff who attended to support the actions and priorities of WEA members.

The Rep Assembly offered a venue for WEASO and WEA members to connect and build stronger relationships, connecting in the general hall, over meals and side by side on the Capitol steps. WEASO members distributed a very positive flier that outlined our shared union values and was well-received by governance, management and our own members.

To quote our message at RA:

“As UNIONISTS, WEA and WEASO are committed to the same CAUSE — promoting and protecting the rights and benefits of ALL workers.”