Bargaining Update Friday June 19, 2015

Bargaining Update Friday June 19, 2015:

Overview: The two bargaining subcommittees have delivered final reports to the Small table, outlining the company’s final positions on the Union demands concerning pensions, insurance, and contract language. The parties have made some progress on closing the gap on several important issues.  The small table, utilizing details received from the subcommittee tables, will now push the remaining issues with GE’s lead negotiator. Leading into Sunday’s deadline, the bargaining subcommittees will serve as support to the small table, answering questions and assisting the small table in any manner, particularly if issues arise relating to their specific work locations. The two sides will continue to meet throughout the weekend to review, edit, argue, and talk in the hopes that an agreement can be reached.   If an agreement is reached, the Bargaining Committees of the respective CBC unions will then review on Monday, to determine their recommendation for the Delegates on Tuesday.  The Delegates then vote on Wednesday on whether or not to recommend the Tentative agreement for ratification by the membership.

Small Table Negotiations:

At the small table, lengthy discussions took place today regarding wages and COLA.  Contract language proposals were also discussed at length, in particular Article XXII and job and income security. The Union and company lead negotiators also argued points on Health care & Life, Active Health Care, Retirement Savings Plan, Pension, SERO, and Disability provisions. Tentative Agreements were reached on some pension issues. Asked about the current situation, IUE-CWA President James D. Clark said, “There has been progress, but there remains a large gap between us on some major issues. Hopefully, as the clock winds down, management will work with the union to find solutions that will bridge the gap.”

Contract Language subcommittee:

Today’s subcommittee wrap-up session was brief, with both parties agreeing that the exchanges during this year’s Contract Language Subcommittee had been detailed and substantive. The Committee was ultimately unable to reach any tentative agreements at this level to recommend to the lead bargainers at the small table; however, the Committee did clarify company positions on many important issues.

Summary Pension and Insurance Sub-Committee

At today’s subcommittee wrap up, the parties signed off on several Tentative Agreements on Short Term and Long Term Disability benefits, which were sent to the Small Table for consideration in their negotiations. There was also an improvement tentatively agreed to on the Disability Pension.

The Union team also reiterated to management the importance of improvements for the defined Pension and made it clear that in its present form, significant RSP improvements were necessary to insure that these employees can achieve meaningful savings and have secure retirements. In the afternoon session, the Union team went back over every significant pension proposal that was still on the table, and each union representative in the room gave a statement on how important these negotiations are to the members back home.

Negotiations resume early Saturday morning.