Guild members came to the bargaining table Thursday with three revamped proposals, but the Company’s only suggestion was it might want to stop allowing seriously ill or injured workers to take advantage of unused back sick time.
Guild President Tim O’Brien noted revoking that policy would not just hurt employees who are on disability. It could unintentionally push some people to decide to take all 10 sick days a year rather than save them in case they are someday needed.
Currently, we are not able to cash out unused sick time when we retire under the current contract, though the Guild has made a proposal to allow people to bank some hours.
Pressed by Guild bargainers on the importance of that protection, Company officials said they may make a proposal to alter the simple, single-sentence agreement The letter was signed in 1994, but it memorialized a practice in effect long before then.
The union changed its idea for Community Service Leave, reducing the number of people who could take the leave from 5 in each department to 5 total. The union also specified that the leave could be taken as a single week or one day at a time.
The Company leaders worried that they might have to replace workers for those missing hours, but the union noted they do not replace absent workers now. Guild bargainiers also noted that the total numbers of hours employees lost because they didn’t take vacation they earned in time last year was 1,286.75 — equal to 171.57 days of work. The result: The Company is gaining more in hours than it would ever lose by letting people assist in the community.
The union also revamped its proposal on interns, asking only that the union be provided information about how many interns there are, where they would work, what they would do and what their compensation would be. The union welcomes the ability to mentor potential future colleagues, but internships should be of limited duration and not used to replace or displace existing staff positions.
The final change was to a proposal to allow Jewish and Muslim employees to take their holiest days off a year without having to take personal days. As the Company had suggested, we made the proposal specific as to the days.
The parties also went through each of the side letters at the back of the contract, discussing which ones are still needed.
The parties will bargain again from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, July 31. The two bargaining teams also agreed on subsequent dates: all day Aug. 18 and 19, 2-5 p.m. Sept. 3, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 4, all day Sept. 9, 2-5 p.m. Sept. 10 and 2-5 p.m. September 24.
Employees can attend the sessions on their own time.