Denver ASL interpreters study scheduling as talks resume
ASL Interpreters United TNG-CWA Local 39521
Negotiations Update #2 Dec. 7, 2017
Contract negotiations resumed in San Francisco this week with a closer look at proposed changes in the scheduling routine and some preliminary meetings with a federal mediator.
Both the union and management put in some effort as we took turns clarifying our positions, giving speeches, and asking and answering questions. But after two days, management made no clear moves pointing us toward a settlement.
Our committee spent considerable time looking at the fine print of a proposed company rewrite of scheduling protocols. We seriously tried to understand what the management meant to happen if we agreed to its new proposal blending full-time and flex-time VI’s into the same scheduling pool. It’s a complex issue where the specifics are wide open to debate and interpretation. Although no agreements were made this week, there seemed to be an emerging consensus that more clarity and less confusion would benefit all concerned.
At the end of our lengthy question-and-answer round, our committee decided to take a closer look at the current system on our own, identify the real snags, and offer detailed changes that might work for management and VIs. We plan to seek your views about this during the weeks ahead.
Our committee emphasized priorities we’ve spelled out since the talks started, demanding to build upon the progress we have made since organizing and bargaining our first contract. We expect fair economic terms, workable scheduling and no unfair discipline. We have showed willingness to compromise, including an interim agreement for a performance standard on MDD calls. The company so far has not reciprocated. In fact, the company still demands to gut our union contract.
Our committee did reach agreement with the company on the preferred location of our break computer and phone. At the same time, we raise deeper questions about our office layout, working conditions and communications.
Joel Schaffer of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service oversaw some of the talks. The FMCS process often takes on a form of shuttle diplomacy, which may help bargainers stop talking past each other. We hope some progress comes when we next meet on January 30-31.
Our committee consists of Mah-rya Proper, Sarah Spencer and Liz Keyser in Denver, backed by union staffers Kat Anderson and Carl Hall, and Tony Mulligan of the Denver News Guild. Representing the company: Francine Cummings, Greg Camp and Sahar Haraz, and Akin Gump attorneys Andrew Turnbull and Lawrence Levien.