Both sides agreed Tuesday to extend the contract through at least Sept. 30. The agreement would continue in place after that date unless either party gave 30 days’ notice.
“This enables us to continue to work with all our wages and benefits intact,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said. “Without that guarantee, it would be much more contentious, and we’d have no choice but to start exploring boycotts and other such job actions.”
The parties also reached a tentative agreement on the items that neither side was proposing to change. Those items included language barring discrimination, outlining the grievance process, allowing merit raises and continuing dues checkoff.
A good deal of discussion focused on the Company’s proposal to stop paying severance if an employee is fired “for cause.” The Guild noted that language painted a broad brush. With the Company recently handing out “performance improvement plans” that threaten discipline up to and including dismissal, the Guild noted that the language change would mean employees could be let go with no money.
The Company said it was inappropriate to have to pay if an employee was fired for, to use its example, a rape in a bathroom. The Guild suggested the Company rewrite its proposal to focus on “gross misconduct’’ on duty.
As expected, management bargainers argued the Guild’s proposal contained too many contractual changes. The Guild replied that the management list was far shorter but much more onerous in its demands.
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The two sides will meet again at 2 p.m. Thursday and on Friday in the Executive Conference Room. As always, members can attend on their own time.