AFSCME Council 18

Dèjà Vu at State Personnel Board Meeting with a Side of State Bargaining Update

For the second time in three months, AFSCME members appeared before the State Personnel Board meeting and asked that urgent wage disparity and vacancy issues be addressed.

Following the January meeting, SPO Director Gene Moser and Labor Relations Sandy Martinez spoke amicably with AFSCME membership and set a date to meet over the issues, brainstorm solutions, and share information.

Sadly, just 48 hours before the meeting, SPO contacted AFSCME Council 18 to say the meeting was "OFF" and would not take place under any circumstances.

Reasons for calling off the meeting varied depending on what questions were posed to Mr. Moser. Reasons he echoed at today's Personnel Board Meeting; discussions of wage parity must take place at bargaining, our grievances can only be handled legislatively, or finally, there is no money in the budget to give career employees the raises that would result in pay equity with the very new hires they're training.

"SPO has never put the pay classification topic on the table during bargaining and to say otherwise, is untruthful." said AFSCME Council 18 Executive Director and negotiator Connie Derr. "In fact, we learn more of SPO's intentions from their presentations to the LFC and the State Personnel Board than at the bargaining table."

AFSCME Members in attendance offered public comment and dressed down Moser for his obstructionist stance and refusal to meet with members. "If our only opportunities to address these serious issues takes place during a two minute public comment window, during a hallway meeting, or across the table from the State's hired consultants, who are tasked with a mission to dismantle the worker's union entirely, then we are doomed to perpetuate this Management versus Workers mentality," said Miles Conway, AFSCME 18 Communications.

Moser laid the lion's share of the blame at the feet of AFSCME, claiming we're not seriously bargaining or willing to move on key issues.

Staff Representative Joel Villarreal took issue with Moser's statements saying, "The State isn't proposing to negotiate minor or reasonable changes to the contract, they're set on wholesale destruction of our union, and employee contract rights. If it appears to Mr. Moser that we're not moving, he's half right. We're not willing, and according to the Public Employee Bargaining Act, not required to negotiate such grand concessions.

In a final elegant stroke following AFSCME members statements and board discussion of pay parity, constrained budgets, and austere SPO rules, the board voted to create some new classifications with handsome raises for State Personnel Office employees. Where there's a Will, there's a Way. Slap!

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