The ESC committees for Service Planning met with management on Tuesday 11/28, and the Permit Facilitator committee met with management on Wednesday 11/29.
All members should be aware that the Union is involved in these negotiations because management has the ability to implement reorganizations. The Union does not agree with management’s plans to centralize design work and we have frequently told this to management during these discussions. To avoid unilateral action by management that could be very disruptive to our members, the Union is working towards a potential agreement that will mitigate the impacts of these management initiatives.
In our most recent meetings on November 14 and November 28, the committee has been forced to grapple with management’s change in position regarding involuntary relocations. Although management had previously said that there would not be involuntary relocations as part of this agreement, they said that they had not intended to preclude combining nearby offices (like Concord Local and Concord Design Center, Santa Rosa Local and Santa Rosa Design Center, Cinnabar and Edenvale, Fresno Local and Fresno Design Center.) The Union objected strongly, noting that management had reviewed our previous update on this topic, which said there would be “no” involuntary moves. Union committee members said that changes from management make it difficult to negotiate with them.
There is a preference for voluntary moves with incentives. The committee continued to define who would be eligible for relocation incentives and how these would be offered. Impacted Estimators and ADE’s will have preference to move into new positions as the new classifications are being set up. Impacted employees will have choices over the next two years to accept new positions or remain in place.
The other main topic for the Service Planning group was field checking by NBR’s. The committee was able to reach an agreement from management that there will be a defined checklist to limit what items NBR’s will be able to field check. ADE’s will review NBR field notes for quality and acceptability. Once the job is accepted to Estimating, the Estimator will be able to do more field checking as necessary. NBR’s will only field check single location jobs.
Also importantly, the Union convinced management to offer the NBR the same pay range as routine Estimators.
Regarding the Permit Facilitator, the Union committee made progress on job duties for this new classification. There will be no changes to Estimator or FET job descriptions. The Company’s initial plan calls for 43 initial Permit Facilitator positions, a number of which would be in impacted offices and could provide opportunities for members to stay in those offices. Salary for the classification appears to be the largest sticking point.
Union committee members, board members and staff representatives have been receiving a lot of feedback and input from members. This is a large change, and the Union committee is working hard to protect our jobs and the service we provide to our communities. Union spokespeople continue to stress the importance of training and expertise to be able to do quality work which keeps operations efficient and the public safe. The Union is not in favor of centralization and consolidation, but we need to be mindful of management’s ability to consolidate employees unilaterally in some circumstances. We continue to think that negotiating with the Company and reaching a compromise on relocations and new jobs is better than disengaging.
Management has stated its goal to reach a final agreement with ESC by December 14, and then the process for offering new positions would begin in January and continue through 2018 and 2019.