Business Agent Report August 2020
by Liz Brown
August 17, 2020
As the members I represent continue work through the COVID-19 crisis, I daily remind myself that complacency is the enemy. We all must learn and maintain new habits because of coronavirus. I now wear a mask whenever I leave home, even for a walk by myself outside. If everyone wore a mask all the time, we could kick COVID in the teeth and take a big step toward preventing the flu this winter.
Eight months into the pandemic, this is no time to drop your guard! Wear a mask whenever you leave the house. Wash your hands frequently. Always carry sanitizer. These are the best practices to follow to protect yourself, your loved ones and your co-workers.
Most employers I work with have discontinued the “hazard pay” established for essential employees who can’t work remotely. None of the cities or public agencies I represent have opened their doors to the public. They’ll remain closed for the foreseeable future, although our members continue to work conducting business.
The good news is that at the freight businesses I represent, our members report an uptick in business as their customers re-open to the public and more goods begin moving. Businesses like YRC have recalled members from layoff.
Here in brief are significant events in some of the jurisdictions I represent:
City of Edmonds
I acted as the Union’s advocate in Washington state’s first-ever Zoom hearing on an Unfair Labor Practice charge that we filed against the City. The issue is direct dealing and the refusal to post open positions under the terms of the contract. The Zoom hearing was held June 18 and 19. We now wait for the hearing examiner’s decision.
City of Monroe
Our teams with the City of Monroe resume bargaining Aug. 18 and 19 on the contracts covering the Office-Clerical staff and the police Sergeants. Both contracts expired Dec. 31. We hope our Zoom meetings this week move us closer to a ratification vote.
City of Lake Stevens
The City has expressed an interest in restructuring the Public Works department to upgrade some of our positions into quasi-supervisory ones. We will meet with the City soon to hear their ideas and discuss them.
Highland Water District
This contract covering the water district in Monroe expires at the end of this year. We held our demands meeting and plan to meet over Zoom with the District to start bargaining in September.
We held Shop Steward nominations at YRC Freight, Peninsula Truck Lines and ABF Freight. We now have stewards for the Clerical staff in all locations.
The Seattle Times
We ratified a new contract covering the Single-Copy employees at the newspaper, who deliver papers to street racks, grocery stores and other retail outlets. The Times, like all newspapers, has taken a severe hit on advertising revenue because of the coronavirus. If you can, please subscribe!
Along with Highland Water District, our contracts at the City of Edmonds and Peninsula Trucking expire at the end of this year.
We successfully resolved two grievances at the City of Lake Stevens that concerned discipline for alleged safety violations by employees.