After posting some constructive criticizm about how the Eboard was running the union, I feel it's only fair that I comment on the improvements that I've noticed recently. Specifically, Communication. We've been getting E-Board agendas and minutes in our emails - I don't remember ever getting those before, so thank you for that! It's nice to feel included in what's going on with our union. I was also pleased to receive the Bucket Formula ratification packet over a week in advance before the votes were due. Even this last General Meeting agenda came in a timely manner, however the revised agenda sent out today might have been missed by most classifieds. It was sent as an attachment to an email with the subject line of "Surplus Furniture Information", so if you want a printout to review before the meeting, that's where to find it. It was probably just an oversight, but could create some confusion if people show up to the meeting with old agendas and aren't aware of everything that will be discussed. (Just a word to the wise when sending out an email - be sure that the subject line accurately reflects the contents.)
What's on this revised agenda that was not on the previous one is the mention of 29K going to Step G, increasing it from 2% to 2.5%. Now, I'm sure many of you heard the rumor that went around a few weeks ago about how this .5% would be applied as a retro to the G step back to July 2004. If you think that this money could be used in a better way, bring those ideas to the meeting tomorrow - afterall, it's our money.
The revised agenda also lists "Contract Extension" - I'm unclear as to what that means exactly. I know that our current contract expires June 06. Maybe there is fear that the Orange Petition group is still around and "trying to destroy the union". Trust me, I haven't seen any petitions going around for quite some time, there aren't any secretly organized groups that I know of, and it seems that 99% of the concerns posted by everyone on this blog site are about wanting this union to continue, just in an improved way! Why rush into some major decision out of fear, like locking ourselves into another 3 year contract that could perhaps be improved, without taking some time to really think about & discuss what we want in our contract?
We will also be approving the Eboard minutes from the last few months, including November 1, which has a particular item of interest to me. There's discussion on there about starting a FUSE Retiree Council which would consist of elected officers. It says that this council wouldn't have a vote in contract ratifications, but they would be able to vote on "issues that would affect them (medical benefits, etc.)". I don't know if the FUSE E-Board is the proper venue for retirees concerned about their medical benefits - rather the District committee in charge of procuring medical benefits is a more appropriate committee for retirees to be a part of. I have reservations that some of those "etc." issues concerning retirees might also be issues affecting us active employees. The minutes don't explain the capacity that this Retiree Council would have in relation to the Union E-Board, but it feels like us active employees aren't being trusted to make the right decisions down the road in regards to retirees. I think there's a fear by some that because the Post 94 employees will very soon outnumber the pre-94 employees, somehow their benefits will be voted away by the remaining classifieds. It's an understandable fear, I suppose. However, retiree medical benefits are not something that we as classifieds have control over, nor could we legally vote them away if given the chance. Even the Sierra Board of Trustees are in support of putting aside district funds now so that there will always be enough money to cover retirees' medical - our Retirees will be taken care of, obviously! I just don't know the purpose that having Retirees sit on our Union board would serve - it seems like it would eventually cause problems since it's hard enough for just the active classifieds to agree with one another! I'm only bringing this matter up because it's in the 11/1/05 minutes which we will be approving at the General Meeting. If it turns into a ratification item, then we need to have much more information and time for discussion about the subject before voting on it.
Just be sure to review the revised agenda as well as all the minutes before the meeting so you can bring any comments or questions with you.