By Harold Schlechtweg, Business Representative
Reading this headline you may think I’m exaggerating, unfortunately I’m not. Governor Brownback and his supporters in the Kansas State Senate have introduced two bills, Senate Bill 179 and Senate Bill 212, that will severely handicap SEIU Local 513 in our ability to represent school, county and city employees. What does this mean to you? If these bills become law your job will pay less and be less secure.
Senate Bill No. 179, in the Ways and Means Committee, amends the Public Employer Employee Act in the following ways:
- Prohibits the Union from having a negotiated grievance procedure or representing employees who have been treated unfairly.
- Abolishes the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) and puts all authority in the hands of the Kansas Secretary of Labor to enforce the few rules that are left after the Amendment.
- Permits negotiations between the Union and the BOE, the city or county, only for the purpose of determining starting pay or minimums for job classifications. The new law would expressly ban negotiations over a grievance procedure, hiring, firing, promotion, overtime, holidays, sick leave, vacation, hours of work, shift differential and all other terms and conditions of employment.
What this means: Standby pay, call back pay, shift differential, over time provisions, holidays, sick leave and so on will be set unilaterally by management. The Union will be barred by law from negotiating these issues. And, if you are fired without just cause? Well too bad. You are out the door and there is nothing we can do to protect you and make sure you get a fair shake.
Over the past half a dozen years we have put at least six employees back to work who were terminated “without just cause” at one or another of our employers. These folks would just be gone without the Union. In every case, the worker went back to work only because we got management or a neutral to give the situation a second look. Ask yourself, how many would have been fired unfairly except the boss knew the Union was watching????
Senate Bill No. 212 outlaws payroll dues deduction. The Union is only able to represent you because we have the resources to maintain an office and pay staff. The Kansas right-to-work law (right-to-work for less law) already hampers us when it comes to representing workers in negotiations and in the grievance procedure. Eliminating payroll dues deduction puts an increased burden on our staff to collect dues. Even if we set up a direct-pay, bank draft or pay pal system it will take more of our time and cost us more—resources that could be put to work for you!
Elsewhere in the newsletter you will find how to contact your legislature. We strongly urge you to do this immediately. After you’ve talked to them call us at the Union office and let us know what they say. This will help us when we contact them to ask that they oppose these changes.