Bargaining frustration continues

Purple Bargaining Update #19

ASLIU and Purple negotiators met on Wednesday, and once again failed to reach agreement on a first contract. The most noteworthy feature of the meeting was management’s near total lack of preparation.

The agreed-upon starting time for the meeting was 10:00 a.m. and ASLIU, hoping for a productive day, told the company we would be ready to meet as early as 8:30 a.m. Instead, the management team used much of the morning for internal discussions. When the meeting finally did begin at 10:40 a.m., they presented a proposal that was not new, but a corrected version of a proposal they made in August. They did, at least, report on some technical concerns they had promised to look into at the August meeting. But it was very evident that checking into the IT issue was about all the attention they had given these negotiations since our last meeting.

One glaring example of the company team’s lack of preparation was their failure to even decide on a time frame for their proposed wage reopener. The proposal they currently have on the table is for the reopener to begin in November 2014 for wages to be paid beginning January 2015. ASLIU spokesperson Bruce Meachum pointed out that if that is the date they want, then we are already in the negotiation and don’t need to reopen. Bob Kane, the attorney representing Purple at the table said that the situation “has obviously changed.” Kane said they would have a proposal over the issue sometime soon.

Albeit glacial, there was some movement that ended with the two sides agreeing on types of reports that employees should receive. The union has been insisting all along that VIs cannot be fairly evaluated if they don’t have the information necessary to see how they are performing. When we have a contract, this provision will ensure that VIs do have access to that information.

Both sides agreed that, given the few issues left on the table, another face-to-face meeting is probably not needed at this time. Proposals and responses will be sent by email with discussion by telephone.

Two significant issues are among those few remaining: A fail-safe plan that actually affords VIs at least a modicum of protection against injury, and limitations against the company including uncontrollable time off the phones (management meetings; power failures; fire drills, etc.) in an employee’s KPI requirements.

Another issue still on the table is the health plan. The unfair labor practice committed by the company when it unilaterally increased premiums and deductibles is scheduled for a hearing before the National Labor Relations Board in Denver on November 19. This is the issue that resulted in our one-day strike.

The bargaining team thanks you for your patience and support. In standing strong, you have been magnificent. We’re not sure why Purple seems to be dragging this process out, but if it’s because they have forgotten what ASLIU is about and how we union VIs stand together, we won’t hesitate to remind them.

ASLIU National Bargaining Team:

Mary Jane Moore, Arizona: National Unit Chair              Lindsey Antle, Denver: National Vice Chair

Margie Brooks, Member at Large                                     Michelle Caplette, Arizona: National Vice Chair

Laurie Rivard, Oakland: National Vice Chair                   Martin Yost, San Diego: National Vice Chair

Bruce Meachum, PMWG Representative: Chief Spokesperson

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Michael Applegate

Pacific Media Workers Executive Officer