Below is a partial list of our Union’s ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
*Bargaining on Health Benefits:
From the beginning of the 2013 contract negotiation, our Union was focused on getting the best plan for Members at the least cost. With an understanding that some costs would be shared and would increase, the current structure differentiates between full and part time premiums and has built in annual mechanism for containing costs for any new proposed plans.
*Won Retro Pay Arbitration:
Our 2013 contract expired in January 2016. Negotiations began the previous fall and dragged on for over a year. When the contract was finally signed, KCLS agreed to pay member their pay raise retroactive to January 2016. Little did members know that KCLS would continue the fight by paying the retroactive on the net instead of gross. Our union continued the fight all the way to arbitration. The arbitrator completely sided with our union and after almost three years, our members finally got their contract and their rightful benefits.
*Pages got Raise:
The beginning pay for Pages used to be $11.42 per hour. After their contract was signed in 2017, Pages started at $12.67 per hour.
The Anti-Bullying Campaign was initiated, researched, and developed by a union appointed safety committee member because kcls was repeatedly unresponsive to the need. This campaign was fully supported and encouraged by our union throughout its development. The inspiration and key language of this proposal ended up being included in the new kcls policy. This union initiated policy became the Workplace Behavior Policy (a complete and comprehensive re-do of what was previously the Harassment Policy). Staff can now take full advantage of the official tools now at their disposal to deal with workplace bullying. With our member’s and our union’s efforts we can ensure a better workplace.
*Building and Grounds Workers got option to park at work site or take vehicle home:
Building and Grounds staff work across the entire county and change their assigned locations every 2-4 years. Workdays beginning when they reached their assigned location was a hardship for scheduled far away from home. Buildings and Grounds negotiated the option of being able to take their assigned KCLS vehicle home and begin their day at the first assigned location, or leave their vehicle at a different location and begin their day when it was picked up. A major difference if you are working in the vastness of King County and scheduled to work far away.
*Over Payment to staff/KCLS Repayment:
When it was discovered full-time staff had been overpaid in 2017, KCLS offered limited options for repayment. Our Union stepped in and negotiated additional options for repayment. Our Union advocated for clarity, accuracy, information and options when KCLS management did not. Union members were proud our Union acted on our behalf to explain what was happening.
*Scheduling – Ability to Trade Shifts:
KCLS had implemented policies and procedures to discourage staff in the libraries from trading work shifts, such as limiting trades to a certain number per year, or only allowing trades for shifts with the exact same hour-set. This caused low staff morale and also created more work for managers to track whether policies were being followed. After several years of our Union working to change these policies through Labor/Management meetings and Scheduling Committee meetings, there are no longer limits to the number of trades staff can request.
*Timetable for removal of Letters of Corrective Counseling after one year:
When KCLS implemented a new procedure of issuing letters of corrective counseling to employees as a first step before issuing discipline, letters were placed in employee personnel files with no removal date. Our Union bargained that these letters would be removed after 12 months, provided no further incidents had occurred.
*We vote on our contracts:
We usually negotiate a new contract with KCLS every three years. The priorities for negotiations are set by members. Union leadership sends a survey out to union members asking what are the important issues to them. Union members also attend meetings and tell their negotiating team what to fight for. Out Union’s bargaining committee creates proposals based on what members suggest, and reach a tentative agreement with KCLS. This new contract is voted on by members, and must be approved before it can go into effect. In 2016, members voted down a tentative agreement that did not include specific enough terms for health plan choices and costs.
*Input on Scheduling:
Every few years our union and kcls management get together and decide on any changes to the scheduling process. The union people know what is important to it’s members from a survey that was sent out. These issues/changes are what the unions fights for.
*New Improved/Longer Breaks:
KCLS always had 10 minute breaks and would not increase the time to the standard 15 minutes offered by other public employers and library systems in Washington state. Our union fought for years, through multiple contracts to improve break times, first for staff working shifts without a lunch break, and now all staff have 15-minute breaks.
Originally, only staff who were regularly scheduled on a holiday got paid for the holiday. After we became unionized, all staff except Pages get pro-rated hours for each holiday now. If you were not scheduled to work on that holiday, then you get to take your holiday hours at another time during that year. Pages chose to keep the structure where they are only paid if they were scheduled on the holiday.
*Inclement Weather Leave:
Past practice was that when work locations were closed because of severe weather in the county, staff were paid, at the discretion of the Library Director. The Director arbitrarily stopped this long-time practice after multiple snow days in 2012. Our Union negotiated the Inclement Weather Leave hours in the next contract. Now, instead of having to use vacation hours when your work location is closed due to weather, every staff member gets a set number of hours to use per year for inclement weather.
*Prevented Outsourcing of MDS Delivery Drivers:
When KCLS was going to lay off all delivery drivers and outsource shipment delivery, our Union organized to show solidarity and support for the drivers. As a direct result of our efforts, KCLS retained in-house staff in MDS. KCLS has laid off non-represented positions since then, but has not laid off any union-represented positions.
*20-hour Benefited Pages:
Our union has always been fighting for 20-hour Page position so Pages could have benefits and receive the same respect as other kcls staff. In past negotiations kcls said that they would allow seven 20-hour Page positions, and then evaluate the procedure before going further. KCLS allowed six 20-hour Page positions, and then stopped with no evaluations or explanation. Our union is still fighting to get benefits for more Pages.
*Retained Community Status:
In January 2006 kcls clustered all branches and began rotating all staff. After a year of “discussion”, kcls agreed to have two statuses for staff: community status (those hired before 2006) and cluster status (those hired 2006 and after).
When rotation started in 2006 kcls required all lower branch staff to work all branches in their cluster. With our union’s help, that rotation went down to working three branches, and then down again to working two branches.
*Free $10,000 Life Insurance Policy:
Through AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees), all union member may sign up for a free $10,000 life insurance policy.