As you know, our current contract expired July 1, 2012 and we have been in negotiations for successor contracts for the PNCR and JCAU units since early 2012.
We negotiated throughout 2013 and at the end of the year, we reached a tentative agreement on terms for our new contract. We have begun the process of memorializing all our agreements in writing for presentation to the membership for ratification. No contract is final and takes effect until all the members of CWA vote on it and approve it. We are setting that process in motion now and expect to give everyone adequate advance notice and information about the contract before voting occurs.
Depending on worksite meeting schedules, we have started preliminary discussions of the terms of the tentative agreement. However, it is important that all members receive the same information at the same time, so we want to put out an official release of the tentative agreement as soon as all terms are signed by both the Union and the Judiciary. We expect that to occur shortly.
Due to the long period of negotiations and the many parts of the contract that were discussed, it is taking some time to finalize the documents. The Union has drafted the necessary documents for ratification and we are awaiting a response from the Judiciary. All parties are working quickly and cooperatively to finalize things.
Also, in light of the changing legal and legislative landscape over the last couple of years, we want to be sure that our contract language is in compliance with the law and will be enforceable. Therefore, we are taking extra time to ensure language is clear and complete.
In the meantime, you may have seen or heard rumors about the settlement. Anything you have seen is not from CWA Local 1036 and is not necessarily accurate, so you should only rely upon information directly from the Local.
A full bargaining report will be distributed electronically and through our stewards as soon as all terms are signed by both the Union and Judiciary.
Here are the basics of the salary components of our agreement. • Maintained the structure of our salary ranges: minimums, annual progression increases for everyone at maximum1 and below, advancing from maximum1 to maximum2 after 24 months.
• Protected annual progression increases for everyone who is still eligible for progression (folks at maximum1 and below).
• Secured annual across the board increases similar to the Executive Branch but on a faster schedule.
• Secured across the board increases and additional bonuses for members who have been at maximum2 (the top of range) for a defined period of time.
• Ensured pensionability of increases for everyone, including members at maximum2 who are potentially closest to retirement.
• Reduced maximums, but no change to starting salaries or progression schedule, for new employees hired in the future.
During these Judiciary negotiations, we knew that we were facing a difficult challenge. Health care contributions were set by law and set outside our scope of negotiations for this contract. The state executive branch settlement set a pattern that, in some parts, influenced Judiciary negotiations. Judiciary funding from the State has been flat for several years and is expected to continue that way. Meanwhile, the Judiciary was initially proposing multi-year wage freezes, pay reductions, and the elimination of progression increases. In addition, there were attempts to change much of our contract language, which lengthened negotiations.
JCAU is also issuing a joint message to membership as soon as possible.
Next Steps: • A detailed bargaining report will be distributed to members as soon as language is finalized with the Judiciary.
• Ratification materials, explanatory meetings, and a voting schedule will be distributed.
• Ratification will be scheduled as soon as possible, while allowing members adequate time to review, consider, and understand the proposal for our new contract.