Bargaining bulletin #16
Negotiators for Local 39521’s ASL Interpreters Unit and Purple Communications inched closer to a contract when they met in San Francisco on April 9, but are still separated by at least two very tough issues: health and safety, and wages.
The Company did make a serious effort to address the log-in/utilization requirements that is so demanding on our members’ health. Unfortunately, the proposal, based solely on utilization, did not go far enough to assure the ASLIU team that it would prevent most injuries. After acknowledging management’s effort and expressing appreciation that the Company team was willing to explore alternative ideas to address the safety concerns, the Union presented its own revised proposal. After a caucus, the management team said they would do more work on the problem and promised to get back to us.
On the wage front, management continues to indicate openly at the table that it will seek a future wage cut. The latest Purple proposal is for a freeze on wages with a reopener on the subject in November 2014 for wages to be paid starting in January 2015.
The Union’s proposal is for a modest increase in wages plus the establishment of a minimum pay rate.
Health-Benefits-Plan Changes at Issue
Prior to meeting at the bargaining table, Purple notified ASLIU that it wished to implement certain changes to the health-care plan, some of which the Union found objectionable. Those include an increase in the percentage of premium cost for dependent coverage to be borne by the employee. Purple currently pays 75% of the premium, with the employee picking up the other 25%. Under the revised plan, the employee would pay 30%.
Other changes the Union objected to are increases in the deductibles of Core PPO for both in and out of network, and an increase in the Buy-Up out-of-network deductible.
The changes are slated to be implemented on May 1, after an open-enrollment period beginning on April 18.
ASLIU negotiators made it clear to the Company that it is not interested in concessionary changes to the health-care plan at this time, especially since we are still without agreement on a full contract. Management negotiators were told that we wish to maintain the status quo until such time as the changes, and the contract, are fully negotiated.
No Meetings Scheduled
No new meetings were scheduled, partially because both sides are preparing for an unfair-labor-practice hearing before the National Labor Relations Board scheduled to begin in Denver on April 22. That hearing will involve numerous complaints issued by the Board against Denver management.
Even though no meetings are set, the two sides agreed to continue a dialogue over the remaining issues.
Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 ASL Interpreters Unit
National Bargaining Committee:
Mary Jane Moore, Arizona: National Unit Chair Lindsey Antle, Denver: National Vice Chair
Laurie Rivard, Oakland: National Vice Chair Michelle Caplette, Arizona: National Vice Chair
Martin Yost, San Diego: National Vice Chair Margie Brooks, At-Large member
Bruce Meachum, PMWG Representative: Chief Spokesperson