Here is the latest in negotiations, and other areas for you to be aware of.

Negotiations: The Board has declared impasse. They have also asked to go to fact-finding. This is a process where both sides present their top 8-10 proposals as a brief to a third party who analyzes the facts of the bargaining process and seeks to recognize a potential compromise. (FindLaw 2019) It is not binding, much like the mediation we participated in, but with fact-finding there can be acceptance of the overall recommendations of the fact-finder by one party or the other that can be brought for a vote to the legislating body (Aldermen) for funding. Our brief will be submitted by May 31, along with the Board’s brief. Ten days after that, the fact-finder will bring forward his recommendation. This can include proposals from both sides, or tweaks to both proposals. Acceptance of the proposal from the fact-finder is all inclusive. We either take it all or leave it all. If either side takes it all, the recommendation will be brought to the Aldermanic Board to approve the funds only. If funding is approved, we go back to the table to determine where the funding will go, and any other language to agree upon.

BOSC  Paid Time Off Proposal:   During negotiations, we did make a counterproposal on the paid time off leave which increased the number of days to 15, tied it to keeping sick bank while increasing retirement payouts and worker’s compensation payouts. This was rejected by the Board.  However, we have recently learned that we were not provided with all effects of the Paid Time Off proposal. In the last week while checking with Human Resources , the president of MESPA found new information that the Board did not give to us. We also surveyed you about your opinion.

Your stance and the new information gives us even more reasons to reject this BOSC regressive proposal.

This is what we learned about Short and Long Term Disability (STD/LTD):

Let’s use a teacher on step 9 BA as an example. We’ll call her Dany Targaryan (can you tell what I was watching recently?). Dany has the family insurance plan for the HSA, and is going out on medical leave. Dani makes $55,130 per year on her step, and her biweekly pay is $2120 before deductions and taxes. When she goes on medical leave for a period of time longer than 15 days, that is considered short term disability (STD). She plans to be out for 16 weeks. Dani will receive 60% of her pay, or $1272 per pay period since taxes will not be taken out. She pays 15% of the insurance cost at $305.05 per month. Once her FMLA passes at 60 days, she now has to pay COBRA, and is assessed 100% of her insurance cost at $2033.67 per month, unless she has otherwise negotiated to retain her insurance. (This is without the change in health insurance proposed by the Board. I am just using current numbers.)

(Time off under FMLA protects the employee’s position and guarantees a position to return to, and maintains health insurance at its current levels. This is 12 weeks per year, or 60 work days.)

She may also have to pay her entire contribution to NHRS as her retirement may not be taken out of the 60%.

We find that this is unacceptable.

You can plug in your own numbers to see how this affects you personally.

Could your budget take that kind of hit for a month while you are out on medical leave? For more than one month? This is one of the reasons we do not bring proposals forward to you – they are deep cuts that could destroy a family.

Dany will have to pay out her bills from the leftover $510.79 – payments like her mortgage, bills, and other medical costs. If her HSA plan just went into effect and she had not paid much toward the deductible, she could end up overlapping to have to pay COBRA and the rest of the deductible, if she didn’t have anything saved in her HSA. Dani is now angry and will release her dragons…

Again, I thank you for the continuing communications and suggestions. It is great to see so many who are truly involved in understanding the contract. Your collective bargaining agreement dictates your working conditions. We stand strong in fighting for what you deserve.

In Solidarity,