Bargaining Update (10/25/18)

On September 28, 2018 our bargaining team met with the state bargaining representatives. This was a very spirited meeting, since we established a change in our negotiating position. Due to a surgery the prior week, Vice President Chad Thompson was unable to take the lead position. Our new union attorney Christopher MacGillis took over that duty. Attorney MacGillis represented us quite well as he thoroughly and aggressively went toe to toe with the State’s representatives.

Attorney MacGillis effectively addressed State Management’s hijacking of the negotiated Section 7 policy. The WLEA is asserting that the Section 7 policies are enforceable since the policy was unilaterally changed by State Management. The Union maintains that the section 7 language is very important to the successful update and settlement of this current contract negotiation. This position was made clearer to the State’s representatives. Unfortunately, management does not believe Section 7 is an item for negotiation, despite how it was previously negotiated and agreed to by the State and WLEA. These items (according to the state) are not subjects of, or conditions of employment.

As he has done multiple times before, Col. Teasdale demonstrated a case of selective memory when reminded that he’d agreed to include section 7 policies in the current contract. He developed total amnesia over the new format he’d proposed in the 1st caucusing meeting in 2016. He had brought with him a new format that was meant to include the section 7 policies, which he’d referred to as “agreements”. These agreements would resemble the format of the current contract language. Despite there being multiple witnesses to Col. Teasdale’s actions and statements, Col. Teasdale denied his actions and statements. When this was mentioned the state told us that the caucus meeting was not a bargaining meeting. The issue is that Col. Teasdale entered the caucus meeting declaring he was committed to including the language in the new contract. Reneging on his declared commitment to work towards including the negotiated language in the current contract is just one example of the lack of integrity, and an unwillingness to bargain in good faith.

As a group we all seem to struggle to find our way through issues that had been negotiated and agreed to for decades. These section 7 policies had established the foundation for common guidance and were vital for workplace issues such as vacation selection, shift pick selections for off highway and interstate troops, citizen complaint policy, and acceptable performance average. Col. Teasdale said that, to the best of his knowledge, there haven’t been any significant negative issues over the removal of the previously negotiated policy language. As we all know, that is far from reality.

Current state policy is leading to the degradation of our workplace. Many times, Col. Teasdale has expressed his contempt with section 7 policies. He believes that they interfere with management and their procedures. The entire purpose of the section policy 7 agreements is to provide a process and guidelines. Without these detailed processes there are no worthwhile protections in place. At a 2007 meeting that included Col. Teasdale, Major D. Price, and I, Col. Teasdale and Major Price told me that they wanted to avoid the perceived entitlement and expectations that would arise from written policy language. Col. Teasdale’s preferred workplace would primarily be a past-practice format controlled solely by management. Our next Labor / Management meeting is scheduled for November 5, 2018. Our next bargaining meeting is scheduled for November 28, 2018. We will keep you posted on any changes.


Tracy Fuller

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