A&R President John DiSette and Vice President Mike Myles at the Capitol on Lobby Day
A&R's position has been and remains that the Top Step Payment should have been paid to members regardless of the contract extension signed in July, 2016. An institutional grievance for payment was filed. Not surprisingly, OLR denied the grievance at Step 2 just this past week. The union is pursuing the grievance to Step 3 (arbitration). Via the grievance process, we are seeking back-pay, with interest.
UNION ELECTION UNDERWAY
RETRIEVE YOUR BALLOT IN THE MAIL
POLLS OPEN MARCH 30th – APRIL 19th
1st WEEK OF APRIL: BALLOTS ARRIVE IN MAILBOXES
2nd WEEK OF APRIL: BALLOT REMINDER POST CARD ARRIVES IN MAILBOXES
Voting is conducted on-line. Do not vote using state equipment. Ballot materials and voter credentials will be mailed to members’ homes the 1st week of April with a follow-up mailing the 2nd week of April. Polls close April 19th, 11:59 PM.
Results of the election will be announced at the A&R annual convention on April 20th, 2017 at the USS Chowder Pot on Brainard road in Hartford. Convention registration begins at 4:30 PM.
EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE!
SEE YOU AT THE CONVENTION!
The Tier2/2A/3 pension breakpoint has been updated for 2017, the breakpoint is now $77,889.
To the advantage of members, the breakpoint has increased by roughly 3.6% for the past 3 years. This is a huge improvement compared with the first 30 years in which the breakpoint rose by 6% per year.
Tier2/2A/3 has a multiplier of 1.4% times years of service times salary and an increase of .4333% times years of service for salary above the breakpoint.
1st MEDIATION SESSION HELD
Contract negotiations advanced with the union and the state presenting opening postions before a mediator on Wednesday, March 8th. A&R continues to maintain that there can be little meaningful progress if the state continues its hard-line stance seeking to gut our contract. The state has put forward 96 separate proposals which, if all were adopted, would eliminate most of your basic contractual rights.
For example, you may recall that the state proposes the complete elimination of out-of-state travel reimbursements - in their entirety! Yup. The state's expectation is that when they assign you out-of-state work that you will pay for the airfare, the hotel, the meals - everything - without any reimbursement. Obviously we take issue with such nonsensical proposals. We will continue to bargain in good faith, while insisting that our members be treated with dignity and respect at the bargaining table. Our next mediation session is scheduled for March 27th, where we expect to delve into specific language issues.
OUR APPROACH TO NEGOTIATIONS
Wage freezes and pay cuts are not the same thing! It is our contention that no member should take a pay cut as a result of a contract extension agreement. At issue is the state's insistence that Top Step Payments are to be forfeited while we are negotiating the successor agreement. This means that those who received the Top Step Payment the prior year are taking a 2.5% pay cut. Plain and simple it is a pay cut. This is unjust and not acceptable. Whatever path contract negotiations take, recovering retroactive payment of the top step payment is and shall remain among our highest priories.
The amazing part is that the State has not come to an agreement with ANY of the unions. As of July 1st, 2016, near all of the unions, including A&R, were operating under an Extension Agreement. Extension Agreements are guided by state statute which maintains the status quo until a successor agreement is reached. Thus our position regarding pay cuts. Whether through mediation, arbitration, or via agreement, we are and will continue to seek retroactive payments of the Top Step back to July 1st, 2016 and we will continue to seek step increases as well. This process has been long, but we cannot accept the positions the state has taken. Further, we will not rush into a settlement which forgoes our short-term and long-term objectives.
The Governor closed all 3 shifts on Tuesday March 14. Therefore, employees do not have to charge time against their accruals for any sick time, PL, or vacation requested for Tuesday 3/14/17.
From the Governor's website:
"...In addition, the Governor is fully activating the state’s Emergency Operations Center starting at 5:00 a.m. He is also directing all nonessential first and second-shift state employees to not report to work on Tuesday."
There is going to be a State employee rally at the Legislative Office Building on March 24th. There are over 60 bills aimed at State employees, many of which are expected to be put to a vote on March 24th. Attached is the list of bills (many of them are duplicative); the bad bills are highlighted in yellow and the very bad bills are highlighted in red.
State employees must make a show of force to thwart these anti-labor bills.