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Abysmal situation

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2002

In regards to Alma Seward's position concerning our union, I couldn't agree more. It is apparent that the union's hierarchy has assumed the identity of union. As in what is best for them is what is best for the union. This is the only justification for removing our duly elected president in a "Special Session of the Executive Board."

As a case in point, they didn't have any problem spending $8,000 of your money to conduct this "witch hunt," but couldn't spend a like amount to analyze the content of Article 21 of the latest contract. Specifically, the manner in which the "new final step" would be implemented, instead, they relied on the "perception" that it was a benefit to the members.

I informed the union's hierarchy almost two months before the contract was to take effect that this "new final step" could possibly harm about 10 percent of the union's members. Specifically, the 700 (plus) members who were already in the "final step" prior to the effective date of the new contract, for one possible interpretation of this ambiguous language, could result in the loss of one year of service time in regard to step calculation. Instead of acting on my warning, and doing the fiscal analysis of the three possible interpretations of the contract language, they blindly agreed to allow the administration to do just what I had warned them about.

An analogy of what the union's hierarchy agreed to, that everyone can appreciate would be: Imagine crossing the street at a crosswalk, with the street maintenance people following behind you, sand blasting away the white cross walk lines behind you, only to find a police officer on the opposite curb writing you a ticket for jay-walking.

Another disturbing fact that you should consider about our union's hierarchy is that from 1994 through mid-1996 we worked without a contract and therefore no cost of living increase. From mid-1996 to mid-1999 our cost of living increase was limited to half of the CPI not to exceed 1 1/2 percent. From mid-1999 to January 2002 we again did not receive a cost of living increase.

Finally, in the last year of the current administration we will get a "whopping" 2 percent cost of living increase. With inflation at 3 percent annually, the cost of living over the eight years of the current administration has gone up 26.66 percent while your wages will have only gone up 6.66 percent. Despite this abysmal situation, our union wants you to vote the current lieutenant governor into the governor's office in November.

Mike Lavering

Juneau



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