Contract Negotiations: Time to Get Ready! Contract Update 3.26.18

It’s been three years since we were in contract negotiations and our union is ramping up again for our next contract battle. Last round we won a $15 minimum wage. This round we’re looking at a large general wage increase and expanding protections for workers and union activists. As of this writing we are still finalizing our proposals. Here’s a little on what to expect and the process:

Who bargains?
AFSCME Local 2822 is one of six AFSCME locals that bargain with the employer as a group. Those locals are: Local 34 (human service and social workers) Local 552 (probation officers), Local 1719 (correctional officers), Local 2864 (professional unit including librarians, planning analysts and medical examiners) and Local 2938 (Lawyers). Bargaining together increases our strength.
The union is scheduled to give our opening proposal to the employer from 9AM-12PM on Monday, May 7. From there, members of the negotiations team will join other workers on the north plaza of the Government Center for a kick off rally from 12-1PM.

At the end of the month the employer will give its counter proposals and then we’re off to the races. We have 6 full bargaining days scheduled throughout spring and summer. More days will be added if needed.

Our membership voted to have at least 10-12 members on the negotiations table team from 2822. The bargaining team is selected by the president. I’ve asked interested individuals to contact me with a short description of why they want to participate. I will be looking at individuals who have been active in the union from different departments to create a diverse team.

How did we decide what to fight for?
Our local held a series of contract meetings for workers to share concerns and discuss what we as a group want to fight for. As individuals made proposals, we realized they fell into three general categories:
★ A general wage increase for all;
★ Lower health insurance costs;
★ Protections for workers and union activ-ists.
These points were debated over the course of several meetings and represent our three primary goals for the contract.
After establishing our priorities, our local will meet with leadership and workers from the other 5 locals to create a unified platform for bargaining. These joint meetings are called Master Team meetings. We met on March 19, and we will meet again April 2 and April 16. Stay tuned for our full platform.

Where’s our power?
Our power comes from our numbers and unity of our message. And it comes from showing our power publicly. That means rallies, green T-shirt days, phone calls. We need to be ready. Nothing will be handed to us. If you want a raise, if you want affordable healthcare, get ready to take action. It will be a battle, but a battle worth waging, for ourselves, our families, and the people we serve.

Here are ways to get involved:
★ Come to the Contract Kick-Off Rally, May 7, 12-1PM at the HC Government Center North Plaza;
★ Wear green on Tuesdays! email [email protected]
with your t-shirt size and mailcode;
★ Come to the HC AFSCME Education, Engagement and Outreach meetings, every second Monday of the month: Monday April 9th at 5:30pm at the Seward Probation Office: 2600 E 25th St., Minneapolis.

United We Bargain,
Divided We Beg!