Friday, April 29, 2011

What is Fact-Finding.......

Monroe County Local 828 - Monroe County Employees Unit 7400

The Community’s Workforce

The Facts on Fact-finding:

Fact-Finding: Discovery or determination  of  facts
or accurate information. adj. Of, relating to, or used
in the discovery or determination of facts:
a fact-finding committee
In the event that an agreement is not reached in Mediation, the process moves on to the Fact-finding stage. In Fact-finding, PERB appoints a neutral Fact-finder to meet with both parties. It is a somewhat more formal process, where both parties meet with the Fact-finder and then submit written briefs (similar to legal briefs) and research documentation supporting their positions and proposals. At the end of this stage, the Fact-finder will make a written recommendation that is given to both sides. This report is not binding and can be rejected by either side. The Fact-finder’s report is usually released publicly once both parties have had an opportunity to review it. This process can also take several months to complete. Currently, this is the stage we are in with the Monroe County Administration.

If Fact-finding fails to produce a tentative agreement between the parties, the process moves on to the third and even more rarely-occurring stage of Legislative Imposition, where the governing body for the municipality would impose a one-year contract to cover the first year following the last contact that expired. If it gets to this stage, the Legislature can only impose a wage settlement, which nine times out of ten ends up being zero percent. Everything else remains as it was under our previous contract. By the time a contract stalemate gets to this point, we’re usually more than a year working under an expired contract, which means we’re right back at the negotiating table starting from scratch for subsequent contract years. Also, the legislative body does not have to impose a settlement. They can ignore this stage and continue on negotiating. It is their option.

It’s important to note several key points about the Fact-finding process. First, at any stage during the process, we can still meet with management and talk with them, and even negotiate if we think there’s progress to be made. If, at any point, our Negotiating Team feels they have a legitimate offer to present, they’ll bring it back for your vote. The important thing to remember is that as a dues-paying CSEA member, YOU have the final say on whether the contract is approved or not.

Another key point is that during this process, we do not expect our members to just sit idly by waiting for something to happen, and wait for information to slowly drip out. Our goals are to keep you involved in your contract negotiations process, and quickly informed of what’s going on throughout. To that end, CSEA has developed a proven mobilization process that includes increasing communications and putting together a strategy for member involvement that helps build public awareness and political pressure to reach our negotiating goals. As your chief negotiator, your CSEA Labor Relations Specialist (LRS), Robert Leonard, is working with your local union leadership and other union staff members on a strategic contract campaign mobilization committee.

Also, you should know that once Fact-finding is declared, any ground rules previously agreed to with management about going to the press or publicizing what’s going on in negotiations are immediately invalid. We will utilize the media to get our message out, and there are no news “blackouts.”

Always remember: There is power
in CSEA Political Action

Finally, you need to know that the declaration of Fact-finding and the process that follows should have NO impact upon your current terms and conditions of employment, until a new contract is agreed upon and ratified by both parties. Under the Triborough Amendment of the Taylor Law, all the provisions of your previous contract, with the exception of salary increases and any language tied to a “sunset” date, will continue unchanged. You are still protected and have binding legal rights under your expired contract, and you should make sure you let your union officers know if anyone tries to change working conditions because the contract has expired or Fact-finding has been declared.

If you have any further questions about negotiations or getting involved with mobilization, please contact your Unit President: Cris Zaffuto or your CSEA Labor Relations Specialist: Robert Leonard.

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