Patty’s Corner – April 12, 2016


We returned to the bargaining table with Allied and faced a big challenge.  We had language in the expiring contract which rolled unused maintenance of benefits (MOB) money forward into the successor agreement.  The problem was we had a fundamental disagreement over how the money was calculated.  We used a straight dollar formula, calculating the unused MOB money per month for each year of the expiring contract and coming up with a dollars and cents per hour figure available per member.  The Company calculated what they had actually saved each year and put that money in a pot.  The two different methods put us somewhere between 1 and 2 million dollars apart.

We met for half a day on the 24th, and again on the day the contract expired.  We started that morning at 8 a.m. and reached a tentative agreement somewhere between 2 and 2:30 a.m. the following day.  It was a long and tense day, and there were times when each side was ready to walk away from the table.  With the assistance of a federal mediator, who kept us talking instead of walking, we were able to reach an agreement.  It was ratified overwhelmingly on Saturday, April 12.

We welcomed Local 38 to the bargaining table this year, represented by Secretary-Treasurer Steve Chandler and Business Agent Daryn Wilbur.  Their last contract was negotiated with the assistance of Collective-Bargaining and Organizing Director Michael Beranbaum from the Joint Council and Local 174 Vice President and Business Agent Ken Marshall.  By the time it expired, that contract matched our economics (but not language) and required joint bargaining.  We were successful in gaining contract language almost identical to ours, as well as continuing the match in economics.  Ken assisted in their ratification vote, which took place the same day, and was a unanimous yes vote.


Up next in the beer, wine & liquor world is SWS.  Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks, Business Agent Michael Gonzales, Collective-Bargaining and Organizing Director Michael Beranbaum from the Joint Council and I are negotiating our second agreement with a new player in the liquor industry in the State of Washington.  Southern came to Washington after the liquor industry was deregulated, gave us state-wide voluntary recognition, and bargained the first contract.  As with most first contracts, we did not get them completely up to industry standards.  They knew coming out of the last negotiation it would be our expectation that they would step up in their second contract.  Now that Columbia is done, we will turn our attention to Southern.  We have several meetings set with them over the next couple of weeks.


Our second largest contract is up this summer.  First Student employs more than 400 school bus drivers who transport school children for the Seattle School District as well as a number of private schools in the area.  They, too, are coming up on their second contract, which expires at the end of July.  Unlike Southern, First Student fought the Union and it took a years-long organizing campaign and two elections (after the first was overturned by the NLRB) to win the right to represent the group.  There is a National Agreement with First Student, but all of the economics and the day-to-day rules of operation, including how seniority is used, are bargained locally.  Business Agent Abe Taylor and I kick off negotiations with the demands meeting set for Saturday, May 7 and 9 a.m.  We also represent the mechanics under a separate contract, which expires a month after the drivers.

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