WPEA has made a change in the lead negotiator position for the higher education and general government bargaining tables. Because we will be bargaining for many months to come, we needed to make plans to address the workload at the Union office and to take a different approach in bargaining. To that end, we decided that Lane Hatfield was needed back in the office to address the day-to-day workload and so WPEA selected an Attorney from our current law firm to be the new lead negotiator for the remaining bargaining dates. The teams are currently requesting more bargaining days, so there are no negotiation sessions scheduled yet.
Higher Education: The bargaining team has been in contact with the state managers to set future dates for more bargaining. The state continues to bargain for furloughs and the bargaining teams need better contract language to address member needs. We need language on remote working, diversity, equality and inclusion, remote operations and better layoff language. The team is committed to as many days of bargaining that will be necessary. In the past our bargaining and the ratification vote concluded before October 1. This year we were unable to reach agreement with the state managers so we must continue to bargain.
Highline College: There were two member forums during opening week. Items discussed were furloughs and voting for the contract. It was explained to the members why they didn't get ballots to vote on yet. This is because the College has drawn out the bargaining process and did provide enough days to accomplish bargaining. There are dates scheduled in October to bargain and the bargaining team is finishing up the ground rules for those meetings. We will be at the bargaining table in October fighting against furlough days and negotiating for better contract language. There was another all campus forum about the budget as well, and what the faculty is doing instead of furloughing. Management informed us that they will be tapping the reserves and the administrative staff will be furloughing at a bare minimum at the same amount as everyone else. The college informed us that they got the shared work application to assist with the unemployment benefits to members.
Yakima Valley College: The members have decided to extend the current contract language for another contract period. The YVC the vote passed. The furlough proposals at the HE table will NOT affect the members YVC.
When WPEA returns to the bargaining table, we will send out more updates on the bargaining teams progress!