TA Letter

 

June 24, 2014

 

Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

When the IBU team arrived at the bargaining table last December, the State plan was a “zero cost contract,” i.e. anything we hoped to gain by bargaining was to be “paid for” by reductions and/or concessions elsewhere in the contract. COLD was eliminated and out-of-state wages were to be the starting point of the pay scale for all members, holdover and other overtime pay was to be reconfigured, no Minimum Guarantee pay, no Late Arrival pay, elimination of lump sum longevity pay, no raises, no Pass Privileges, no A Days for the Southwest fleet, employees able to be replaced by automated services, barring Union officials from visiting the ships without express permission from KCO, etc.,

Within the requirements of good-faith negotiating principles, we proposed and counter-proposed Rules changes that served our members with gains and improvements, or had as little loss or diminishment as possible. We fought and fought hard to bring the other side to reason and fairness.

With your solidarity campaign, your strike authorization vote, this being an election year, and a letter to coastal communities’ elected and business leaders about potential disruption and lost revenue to commerce this summer, the State began to see, perhaps, that they had to change their strategy.

The Tentative Agreement includes these items for your consideration:

Pay increases (1% in 2015 and 2% in 2016, based on out of state rates.) across the board instead of wage cuts or a two-tier pay scale,

  • raises for the Deck and Engine departments that approach industry standards,
  • choices for Kennicott members when their schedule changes,
  • protection of overtime pay for employees in RIF,
  • clarified the definition of DRAE. If you are displaced from your bid, then you are a DRAE.
  • insure all crewmembers receive meals in shipyards,
  • employees may claim sick leave to attend family funerals,
  • retain lump sum longevity pay, MG, and Late Arrival pay,
  • any automated services placed aboard the vessels will not cost IBU jobs,
  • there is quicker leave accrual for new employees, and
  • we keep pass privileges.

A few words about passes—

When other transportation industry workers utilize a pass, many still have to pay taxes,              surcharges, and other fees not directly tied to the actual cost of travel. Often, those per-trip charges exceed what is proposed as an administrative fee in this Tentative Agreement.

  • The public perception that we get a “free” annual pass ends.
  •  Only current employees and retirees after the ratification of this contract would be liable for the administrative fee. Previous retirees are not affected by this Tentative Agreement.
  • Only once in every twelve-month period would an administrative fee be levied and only for those who want to utilize the annual pass privilege.
  • All other aspects of pass usage remain unchanged. Deadheaders travel as usual.
  • Turning down a contract because members don’t want to pay $100.00 (less than five hours pay for an entry level Steward) for annual pass usage would find us with little or no public support at all… and certainly none from a Legislature who still has to vote on whether to fund a contract.

 

We are a democratic union and the majority of our membership as a whole must ratify any agreement we work under. If any single department (Deck, Engine, Steward, Purser) does not ratify the agreement by a simple majority, the entire agreement is null and void. We would go back to bargaining and start from square one, but without a contract in place. The State has made it clear that they will implement changes to our work environment as soon as the current contract has expired on June 30, 2014.

There is a lot to like and appreciate about this Tentative Agreement. We urge you to look at it closely, with an eye to all that this contract retains and the improvements made. If ratified, we will enjoy economic and workplace security for another three years.  Everyone benefits in some way or another.

Your elected negotiations team strongly recommends a YES vote on this Tentative Agreement.

 

Yours in Solidarity,

The Negotiation Team

Kerry Crocker

Earling Walli

Michael Queen

Siwatu McLaurin

Mark Slichter

Tony Tengs – alternate

Casey Calhoun – alternate

Alan Cote’– National President

Ricky Deising – Regional Director