Sierra College Classified Unit Caps Effort With New Contract!
Updated On: Oct 13, 2021
Sierra College Classified Unit members have survived, some would say thrived, during an extraordinary challenge over the last year and a half that has seen their unit merged into Local 792 early in 2020 which in turn created an immediate need to establish a representation structure, a leadership structure, confirmation of a committee structure, new policies developed to guarantee member-driven decision making, all while participating in critical dual negotiation tracks. One negotiation track being a formal Mutual Interest Based Negotiating process in conjunction with the Faculty Association to focus on pay and medical insurance issues. The other negotiation track being to negotiate a full update to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Building these systems from ground zero while preparing for negotiations was challenge enough but as we all know the Covid-19 pandemic quickly complicated everyone's work and personal lives while we learned to use Zoom and other virtual systems for essential Union communications, meetings and voting as most of the Classified Unit members were directed to work from home. Fortunately, talented volunteers stepped up to take charge and participate in all of these essential activites, coordinated by a new Leadership Committee that met regularly to monitor all Union activities and responsibilities.
Worthy of mention due to its complexity, another essential project that consumed member attention in the first half of 2020 was a project to educate, understand and decide on a pension plan exit. This controversial project was successfully completed by June 2020, just in time for the emphasis to shift to negotiations preparation as the expiration of the current CBA was looming on the horizen, due to expire a year later on June 30, 2021. Best negotiation practices dictate that you can never over prepare for upcoming negotiations and once again our leaders and members rose to the challenge by participating in surveys and meetings to establish negotiation priorities for the new contract.
At the end of the day, after an extensive series of negotiation meetings, settlements for both negotiations tracks were reached in a timely manner so that a successor CBA was able to be ratified by our members, signed and approved by the College Board of Trustees
Summary highlights of the new CBA include:
A three-year term, 7-1-21 through 6-30-24.
A 3% COLA to be effective 7-1-21.
A one time payment of approximately 4% (4% cost of payroll but paid in an equal amount to each employee) to be paid no later than November 30, 2021.
An increase in the employer's contribution for medical insurance from $1000/month to $1072/month which covered all or most of an upcoming premium increase, depending on employee plan choice.
Commitment for the employer to retain a Personnel Consulting Firm to conduct a "wall to wall" Classification and Compensation Study including funds set aside to implement the "to-be-determined" results.
Addition of a new Kaiser High Deductible medical plan option.
Overall, updating the CBA with a list of substantive topics agreed to be reopened in Fall 2021 for further negotiation.
Annual reopening through the Mutual Interest Negotiating process in conjunction with the Faculty Association to determine a future allocation of available annual revenue and to resolve medical premium and plan changes.
UPEC is proud to represent these hard working, talented, education professionals and very fortunate to have inherited their proud tradition of Union activism and volunteerism. We are convinced this is just the start and the best is yet to come!