By Ned Statchen
CSEA-SEIU Local 2001 members Travis Woodward and I, along with other Union leaders representing Engineers and other Transportation Professionals from around the country were in Washington recently for the 15th Annual Conference of the National Association of State Highway and Transportation Unions (NASHTU). NASHTU is a coalition of 38 unions and affiliates from 20 states and the District of Columbia representing hundreds of thousands of state and local transportation department employees from throughout the United States. CSEA has been a member of NASHTU all 15 years and helped to start the organization in 1998. Most DOT work is 80% federally funded so we need to have a voice in the Transportation budget.
CSEA SEIU Local 2001 and NASHTU were urging members of Congress to oppose any outsourcing mandates that are attached to the upcoming surface transportation authorization. These mandates, if enacted, can shrink our, and all union membership and infringe upon a state DOT’s ability to choose how best to deliver its transportation program.
In addition, NASHTU is also advocating two important concepts that are designed to protect public safety and tax dollars as states undertake federally-funded transportation improvement programs. The first proposal would require public employees to perform the construction inspection on federally funded state and local transportation projects. Public inspectors ensure that construction and seismic standards are met, that projects meet safety requirements and the materials used will stand the test of time.
NASHTU wants to ensure that transportation projects are built cost effectively by requiring state and local transportation departments to perform a cost comparison analysis for federally funded projects prior to outsourcing work. This is similar to our own state bill but instituting this common sense pro vision in the Transportation reauthorization will ensure that federal transportation dollars are spent most effectively.
We also urged Congress to support an increase in sustainable revenue for the Highway Trust Fund. The HTF provides federal funding for highway and transit programs and receives its funding mostly from fuel excise taxes which have not been raised since 1993 and have become less effective with improvements in fuel efficiency and public transportation. The HTF is scheduled to run out of cash this August unless Congress acts to provide new revenue. U.S. DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx has estimated that 700,000 construction jobs are at risk if nothing is done to address the shortfall.
Representatives Michael Capuano of Massachusetts, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Eleanor Holmes Norton of DC, accepted our invitation to address our conference and take questions and feedback from the people who actually build and maintain the roads and bridges, not the lobbyists they’re used to hearing from. But I think what is most effective is our lobby day when NASHTU members take our message right to the offices of the members of Congress and their Transportation staffers in the states they live. On this trip we had meetings with Transportation staff from the offices of Reps. Elisabeth Esty and Rosa DeLauro, and Senator Chis Murphy. At the end of the day, we had a successful reception right in the Rayburn Congressional Office Building where several other members of Congress and staff came to express their support and appreciation for the work we do. At the reception, I spoke with Representative Scott Perry, a Republican from Pennsylvania and filled him in on who NASHTU is and expose some of the falsehoods of Privatization and 3-Ps. I also spoke with staff from the Congressional Transportation Committee and got their opinions on the Administration’s Transportation Budget proposal that had come out that day.
On Monday, a small group from NASHTU including myself, went to the U.S. Department of Transportation and had a meeting with acting Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez who is also the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration. In his office he told us the Administration is planning to release their budget proposal in the very near future, which turned out to be the next day. We discussed specific language in several sections of the transportation budget concerning incentives for state DOTs to outsource work to consulting engineers. He said we should review these areas of the new budget proposal when it comes out and get back to his staff with our comments.
The work that NASHTU and its members do is incredibly important. In the current MAP-21 Transportation budget, Representative Hanna of New York had put in language that state DOTs had to have a certain percent set aside requiring work be performed by private sector CEs on all federally funded projects. NASHTU members moved quickly contacting legislators and staff and were successful in having that language removed from MAP-21. Unfortunately we hear he may have plans to try something similar with the next budget, trying to include a proposal that would give states additional transportation funds if they met some consultant percentage for all engineering work done. I think it’s safe to assume the money would come from the State’s that don’t meet this requirement.
The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) is a massive lobbying firm in Washington DC that pushes this type of agenda every day. We need to have a voice in Washington to speak up and tell our side of the story and point out the mistruths that are presented on privatization. I would never have imagined being have to have a meeting with the 2nd ranking Transportation Official in the country, but NASHTU was able to make that happen so we could voice our concerns about outsourcing. It’s not just for our benefit but for better government that can retain control of our own DOTs before we lose all power to the Consultants and they can charge the taxpayers whatever they see fit.
Dear P-4 Member:
The Department of Administrative Services (DAS) has issued an Objective Job Evaluation (OJE) report for the P-4 bargaining unit.
Of the classifications studied, DAS determined that none of them have undergone significant changes. The Union has the right to challenge any or all of these determinations. In fact, in past OJE cycles, the Union has appealed several “no change” determinations and, as a result, achieved salary grade upgrades for numerous P-4 members.
A key to any successful OJE appeal is substantive input from the members that perform the work. In some cases, input has been provided to the union by an individual member. Still in other instances, input has been provided in a “composite” fashion by members working together.
Regardless of the approach, the union needs input in order to mount challenges to the report. As such, I make the following request: If you are in a job classification that has undergone significant changes, please click this link, thoughtfully complete the appeal form, and return it to the Union by March 14, 2014 (feel free to work with your fellow members to compile a composite submission). Upon receipt of your submission, the Union will file an appeal for your classification. Please note that the Union may not be able to submit an appeal if the information provided is inadequate.
As part of the report, the DAS erroneously indicated that many P-4 classifications are exempt from the OJE process. The Union has informed DAS of this error and is awaiting a reply (see letter). For this reason, if your classification is one of the ones listed below, an appeal is not appropriate at this time. After these classifications are studied, and if DAS determines “no change,” the union will inform you and provide you the opportunity to appeal.
Finally, please note that Information Technology titles are not included in this DAS audit, and, as such they are also not ripe to be appealed at this time. DAS is required by contract to study IT titles and, if they determine “no change,” the union will inform you and provide you the opportunity to appeal.
Please contact your local steward or staff representative should you have any questions.
P-4 Council President
Classifications that DAS erroneously exempted from OJE consideration
Click Here to download a copy of the new P-4 contract booklet with pay tables.
Booklets are being printed and will be mailed to members as soon as production is complete.
For those state employee bargaining units that voted in favor of the 2011 SEBAC agreement, raises are set to begin August 26th and should show up in the September 20th paycheck. The 2011 SEBAC agreement provides (3%) increase plus step increases, annual increments (or their equivalent) in those units that have them as part of their collective bargaining agreement for FY 2013-14, FY 2014-15 and FY 2015-16.
These raises are happening at a time when other workers around the state are facing a sluggish economy and many in the private sector are facing the potential for layoffs. It is important to remember that these raises come after two years of wage freezes and other concessions that state employees agreed to during the darkest fiscal period in a generation in order to help the State of Connecticut balance its budget. These past few years of wage freezes have been difficult, but state employees are now set to receive 9% in wage increases over the next 3 years. Typically, these wage increases would happen on July 1st, but the wage increases for FY 2013-14 have been delayed by 3 pay periods due to wage increases paid to employees in FY 2011-12 prior to ratification of the 2011 agreement.
CSEA P-‐4 Important Contract Dates
(Contract Expiration: June 30th, 2016)
Wage Increases (Cost of Living Adjustments / COLA’s)
3% Increase effective August 26th, 2013 Check Date: September 20th, 2013
3% Increase effective July 1st, 2014 Check Date: July 25th, 2014
3% Increase effective July 1st, 2015 Check Date: July 24th, 2015
Annual Increments and Lump Sum Payments (AI / Step Increases)
Majority of Employees:
Pay Period Including: Check Date:
January 1st, 2014 January 24th, 2014
January 1st, 2015 January 23rd, 2015
January 1st, 2016 January 22nd, 2016
Some Employees hired before July 1, 1977:
Pay Period Including: Check Date:
July 1st, 2013 July 26th, 2013
July 1st, 2014 July 25th, 2014
July 1st, 2015 July 24th, 2015
Option to Retain Grandfathered Normal Retirement Date Election to be made by all Tier II & IIA employees that will not attain normal retirement age by 7/1/2022 (Age 60 with 25 years of service or Age 62 with 10 years of service) Election must be made by July 1st, 2013 The calculator to determine the cost of retaining the age can be found here.
Contribution to Retiree Health Care Trust Fund for 10 Years (OPEB)
For employees NOT currently paying into the Trust Fund, the payment is phased in: July 1st, 2013 0.5% Increase 0.5% Total
July 1st, 2014 1.5% Increase 2.0% Total
July 1st, 2015 1.0% Increase 3.0% Total
For employees currently paying into the Trust Fund:
Continue paying 3% for a period of 10 years or retirement
Breakpoint (Tier II, IIA, III Employees)
Current Retirement Formula for Tiers II, IIA and III: The Sum of
Years 0-‐35 1.33% x AVG Salary + 0.50% x (AVG Salary – Breakpoint) x Years of Service (up to 35) +
Years 35 1.625% x AVG Salary x Years of Service (in excess of 35)
The Breakpoint is determined by the year in which you retire. For 2013, the Breakpoint is $65,300 and it increases by 6% per year.
The Breakpoint will be modified effective for service earned on and after July 1st, 2013. Specific retirement information is available at: http://www.osc.ct.gov/empret/
through June 30th, 2015 for any employee hired prior to July 1st, 2011. Some exceptions to the rule can be found on pages 8 and 9 of the 2011 SEBAC Agreement
For more specific contract information, including Safety Shoe Allowance and EMT Premium dates see: http://www.osc.ct.gov/2012memos/numbered/201209.htm
The Connecticut Superior Court has dismissed a court case from the United Public Service Employees Union (UPSEU) challenging the July decision by the Connecticut Labor Board that dismissed UPSEU’s election petition in a number of bargaining units. The Superior Court found that UPSEU’s appeal failed to meet the standards needed for the court’s consideration, citing a lack of jurisdiction.
The Court ruled that “Unless an appeal from an administrative agency is authorized by (state) statute, courts do not have jurisdiction to entertain such an appeal.“ and that the only instance in which an appeal can be made under Connecticut General Statutes is where an unfair labor practices was alleged to have occurred. As this appeal had nothing to do with an unfair labor practice, UPSEU had no business appealing the decision to the court.
In their appeal, UPSEU alleged that the Labor Board exceeded its delegated powers, arguing that the labor board exceeded their powers by not enforcing an old deadline to file for an election. That deadline changed when the SEBAC 2011 agreement took effect. The court was not persuaded stating that the facts had changed, but not the law.
UPSEU has decided to abide by the ruling and is not pursuing an appeal of the court’s decision.
Stewards– stewards enforce and administer our contract, communicate with our members, represent members in grievance proceedings and
classification appeals, and organize our members in their respective areas.
Lead Stewards– in addition to their regular steward duties, they serve as mentors, work with council leadership and staff representatives to
enable our stewards in serving members through providing the tools and training necessary for stewards to be effective, they also play an
important role in organizing our members and in their respective focus group areas.
Focus Groups- designed in an effort to make our stewards more proactive to the needs of our membership. Their charges are as follows:
Organizing- New member orientation; Labor Management Committees; encourage member involvement; encourage member political action;
encourage member collective action; bring members back in to build a stronger union;
Mobility- Proactively seek out members that need to be reclassified; help members that are seeking transfers; monitor promotional activities;
ensure the OJE process is working; ensure compliance with posting requirements; enforce the pecking order reg.
Contracting out – Monitor it; highlight bad contracting practices; fight for enforcement of SEBAC language, Contract Standards Board and
Design/Build legislation; and
Contract Building – Find unenforced provisions of the contract and enforce them; engage in contract negotiation research.
Staff Representative assigned areas:
P-4 Council Officers:
P-4 Executive Council Delegates (2012–2014):
On June 26th, Department of Administrative Services Commissioner Donald DeFronzo spoke with DEEP employees about the state’s job classification system. During this “Commissioner’s Forum,” several CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 members spoke up about the fact that dedicated, hard-working P-4 members simply cannot advance in their careers. Commissioner DeFronzo acknowledged the problem and indicated that he will work with CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 to address it. Members are encouraged to contact the Union and share their experiences (or lack thereof) with the State’s promotional processes.