Stories indexed with the term ‘union negotiations’

County Votes to Renegotiate Union Contracts

On a 6-1 vote, Washtenaw County commissioners passed a resolution at their Feb. 6, 2013 meeting related to Michigan’s new right-to-work legislation – including direction to renegotiate union contracts. The resolution was brought forward by Andy LaBarre (D-District 7), one of three Ann Arbor commissioners on the nine-member board. [.pdf of LaBarre's resolution] Voting against the resolution was Dan Smith (R-District 2). Two commissioners – Ronnie Peterson (D-District 6) and Alicia Ping (R-District 3) – were absent.

In addition to condemning the right-to-work law and urging the state legislature to pass SB 95 and SB 96 – bills that would repeal the law – LaBarre’s resolution also “directs the county administrator and the director of human resources to engage in … [Full Story]

County Board Briefed on Labor Issues

Washtenaw County board of commissioners working session (Feb. 17, 2011): County commissioners got an update last week on the county’s labor issues, as the county prepares for union contract negotiations later this year.

Diane Heidt

At right: Diane Heidt, Washtenaw County’s human resources and labor relations director, talks with Caryette Fenner, president of AFSCME Local 2733, the county government’s largest union. (Photos by the writer.)

The briefing was delivered by Diane Heidt, the county’s human resources and labor relations director. She told the board that they’d be discussing specific negotiation strategies at their March 3 working session – those talks will be held in a closed session, however. Heidt’s presentation last Thursday was meant to set the stage for commissioners, and to answer any general questions they had as the county prepares to negotiate with its 17 bargaining units.

Leaders of two unions attended Thursday’s working session, though they did not address the board during the meeting: Caryette Fenner, president of AFSCME Local 2733, the county government’s largest union, which represents 621 workers within its five units; and Nancy Heine, president of AFSCME Local 3052, with 56 members.

The county faces a two-year, $20.9 million deficit for its 2012 and 2013 budget years. In a “State of the County” report given to the board earlier this year, county administrator Verna McDaniel targeted $8.5 million in cuts to employee compensation and benefits as part of their strategy for tackling the projected shortfall. [Full Story]

AAPS Busing Decision Coming June 23

Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education meeting (June 9, 2010): At its second-to-last meeting of the school year on Wednesday, trustee Susan Baskett appealed to the AAPS bus drivers’ union: “I want to stress to the bargaining unit – we’re running out of time.”

Todd Roberts takes notes

AAPS superintendent Todd Roberts, taking copious notes during last Wednesday's school board meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

The AAPS board of education voted to consider a resolution to consolidate transportation services at its final meeting on June 23, if a competitive bid is not received by the bus drivers’ union before then. Also, after months of discussion, the board passed the 2010-11 budget and accompanying millage to support it.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the board approved a new AP Biology textbook, passed a resolution in support of using the state’s School Aid Fund only to fund K-12 schools, and debated the renewal of a contract to outsource the district’s food service. And, for more than half of its six-hour meeting, the board engaged in non-voting business, receiving updates from Skyline High School staff, the USA Hockey team housed at Pioneer High, and the Intergroup/Social Change Agents, a high school program designed to encourage dialogue on social identities. [Full Story]

AAPS: Privatize Custodial, Maintenance Work

Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education meeting (April 14, 2010): Bids to outsource Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS) custodial and maintenance services were presented and discussed at the board of education meeting last Wednesday. If negotiations with its local custodial and maintenance workers union do not succeed, the board will vote on privatizing those services at its April 28 meeting.

Glenn Nelson Ann Arbor Public Schools

Glenn Nelson addresses his fellow AAPS board members during last Wednesday's meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

Also mentioned was the possibility that layoff notices could be issued – and, in fact, about 190 teachers have received letters stating that they might receive such notices. If approved by the board at its meeting on Wednesday, notices could go out later this week.

The board also swore in its newest member, Christine Stead, as treasurer, replacing long-time board member Randy Friedman, who resigned earlier this month. His resignation adds a fifth seat to the election slate this fall.

Updates were given to the budget plan, and a bid for summer construction projects at Pioneer High School was given a first briefing by the board. That marked the final phase of the comprehensive capital improvements program approved by the community with the passage of the bond and sinking fund millages in 2004.

Peer mentoring was applauded as part of middle school programming, and a personal curriculum option and additional facilities projects were also discussed at first briefing. [Full Story]

AAPS Issues RFPs for Privatization

Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education meeting (Jan. 20, 2010): Wednesday’s meeting of the AAPS board of education was a study in contrasts.

Demonstrating against privitization

Outside the Jan. 20 school board meeting, one of four demonstrators against privatization of certain school services. (Photo by the writer.)

On one hand, it was an evening of accolades and celebrations.  The board heard recommendations to pay tribute to the work of two longtime AAPS staff members by naming facilities in their honor, community participation in budget planning was lauded, and the students from this year’s Hikone Exchange Program reported on their trip to Ann Arbor’s sister city of Hikone, Japan.

At the same time, concerns about possible privatization of custodial, maintenance, and transportation services dominated the meeting’s public commentary. And when the same presentation that was made to recent public budget forums was repeated for the board, looming school budget cuts again came to the fore. Requests for proposals (RFPs) for outsourcing that are a part of those cuts were also briefly discussed. [Full Story]

County Proposes Cutting At Least 21 Jobs

Several variables affecting the county budget are still unknown – including how much, if anything, the county’s labor unions will concede on wages and benefits. In that context,  Washtenaw County administrator Bob Guenzel is recommending another 21 job cuts to help balance the 2010 and 2011 budgets. The county faced a projected $30 million deficit over those two years. The job cuts are coupled with several efforts to slash expenses and increase revenues, including a proposed economic development millage that would not require voter approval.

Guenzel will formally submit his recommendations to commissioners at their board meeting next Wednesday, Sept. 16. This is the second phase of cuts. Earlier this year, commissioners approved the elimination of 26 jobs and almost $14 million in expense reductions.

In a memo to the Board of Commissioners posted Friday on the county website, Guenzel made clear that there will be additional, difficult decisions to make – and more jobs could be on the line. He described ongoing labor discussions as cooperative, but said that if no deals are struck by Oct. 16, he’ll need to make additional cuts in other areas. More than 80% of the county’s 1,350 employees are represented by 17 different bargaining units, which have contracts in place through at least 2010.

Further ahead, the county is projecting deficits of $27.5 million over two years in 2012-13, with revenues from property taxes continuing to fall and a huge question of whether the state will re-institute a revenue-sharing commitment in 2013. By 2013, general fund revenues are expected to drop to $90 million, compared to $99 million projected for 2010.

We provide a detailed look at the budget recommendations after the break. [Full Story]

Column: Limited Edition

Washtenaw County administrator Bob Guenzel has done about as much as he can do. He has presented and updated the county’s projected 2010-2011 deficit over and over the last six months – best case scenario, worst case scenario, and everything in between. So what are the options? There are few. [Full Story]

County Considers $12 Million More in Cuts

Nearly $12 million in potential cuts over the next two years – affecting up to 181 employees and services to hundreds of residents – are being considered as Washtenaw County leaders struggle to deal with a two-year budget deficit that’s grown to $30 million for 2010 and 2011. Details of the cost-cutting options were released Thursday. County administrator Bob Guenzel will formally present the options at an Aug. 5 board of commissioners meeting – a meeting that’s expected to draw a crowd of county staff and union members.

Hardest hit in this latest round could be mental health services – one option is to cut that part of the general fund budget by $2.4 million and eliminate 91 jobs.

At a July 29 briefing for commissioners, Guenzel stressed that the options he’ll present next week aren’t his final recommendations. No decisions have been made, he said. The extent of the cuts, which commissioners will vote on as part of the overall budget, ultimately will depend on the outcome of ongoing negotiations with union leaders.

The county is talking with most of the 17 bargaining units that represent about 1,000 of the county’s 1,350 workers, asking for concessions – even though union contracts are set through at least 2010. Guenzel plans to update commissioners on the progress of union talks at a closed executive session during their Aug. 5 board meeting. The closed session for union contract negotiations is an exception allowed under the Open Meetings Act.

This is the second phase of budget cuts. Phase 1, approved by the board in July, included $13.69 million in cuts and a reduction of 26 jobs, about half of them already vacant. Guenzel’s final 2010-2011 budget recommendations are expected to go before the board at its Sept. 16 meeting.

After the jump, we’ll provide details for the budget options being considered next week. [Full Story]