I hope this email finds you well and that you’ve been able to enjoy the great weather we’ve been having so far this summer!
I have not provided any updates in a while and that’s because things have been quiet – especially now that increases, retro pay, and covid bonuses have finally been paid out. As you may know, our contract is set to expire next year. Discussions about negotiating the next contract have not yet begun because we are currently negotiating mask and vaccine memoranda that are set to expire this summer. I’ll explain more below.
Regarding our Contract
I have heard from some members about issues they would like to see addressed in the next contract, including the exploration of:
- Stipends for supervisors doing the work of subordinates (similar in nature to the already existing stipend for employees who take on the work of supervisors);
- Changing the current evaluation process and timelines;
- No tuition or fees similar to what’s available to our AFSCME colleagues; and
- Step increases (or something similar) that will keep our salaries increasing at a level that is on par with that of our AFSCME colleagues who, in some instances, are earning more than APA employees.
These are just a few of the suggestions I’ve received. If you have ideas, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me an email with anything you’d like to see added to the contract. It’s my understanding that getting items added to the contract is challenging, but that certainly won’t stop me from pushing for further exploration and discussion of these issues prior to negotiating.
Regarding the Vaccine and Mask Memoranda
When COVID began, the union and management met to discuss health and safety protocols. As a result, two memoranda were created: one regarding vaccines and one regarding masks. Each of these had a provision that the parties would meet in one year to revisit the current COVID situation and reopen negotiations. You may recall that you were polled late May/early June about your thoughts on vaccines and masks. We are utilizing that feedback to guide our negotiations.
Late last month, the parties met for the first time to begin negotiations, primarily focusing on the vaccine memorandum of agreement (MOA). Management’s position is that all employees must be vaccinated (for current and new employees, unless an exemption has been granted) but they want to discontinue all on-site testing in favor of self-testing/self-reporting (due to the cost associated with on-site testing). As you can see, this is very one-sided, and discussions are ongoing. Management is also proposing that a university president unilaterally decide whether their campus should be masked or not.
The APA executive board is working on a new MOA that takes into consideration the ever-changing world we continue to live in. In addition, we are demanding that each school have a team made up of union representatives, management, and students, to make decisions together regarding health and safety issues that impact employees and students alike.
So that’s it in a nutshell. I’ll keep you updated on any important developments as they arise.