NORMAL — The next contract negotiating session between McLean County Unit 5 and its bus drivers union, on Monday, is only one day before the school board is expected to decide whether to outsource the transportation service.
Adding to the tension between the two sides is an unresolved unfair-labor-practice complaint the union filed last week with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board over the district’s consideration of hiring an outside contractor while negotiating with the union.
“Negotiations are ongoing,” said Unit 5 Superintendent Gary Niehaus on Thursday, declining to characterize talks further.
“We continue to engage in bargaining, but management is not responding to our proposals,” said Renee Nestler of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which was voted in last year to represent about 160 bus drivers and 60 bus monitors.
The two sides will meet Monday as they work toward the new union’s first contract. The next day, the school board will meet in special session at 7 p.m. at the district’s offices at 1809 W. Hovey Ave., Normal.
On the agenda will be a decision of whether to keep the busing service as is or contract with Cincinnati-based First Student Bus Transportation. Read more…
via Unit 5, bus drivers union to meet as outsourcing decision looms : Pantagraph.com | Central Illinois.
Negotiators for two unions representing 31,000 state employees reached agreement Thursday on a two-year contract.
The contract, if approved by members during a vote in mid-July, would be retroactive to July 1, 2011, when the old contract expired.
Under the new terms, the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees would receive a 2 percent raise beginning January 2013, plus step increases. Employees would see a “modest” increase in health insurance costs, according to websites for both unions.
via 2 Minn. employee unions reach deal on contract | StarTribune.com.
Despite the impasse in Springfield, pension reform will come, and when it does state employees will be asked to make a very tough choice: Should they forego the 3 percent annual compound inflation adjustment in the pension benefit? Or should they keep the inflation protection and give up retiree medical benefits?
Teachers don’t have Medicare and Social Security as a fallback position, although other state employees do get those benefits. Even so, if you retire early as many state employees do, what do you do for health insurance until age 65 without the state plan?
The health insurance plan for state employees is far more generous than most private plans. After 20 years of service, it is free. And even those who retire with less service will pay only about half the premium costs. Plus, the state program allows retirees to pick their health-care providers almost without restrictions. No wonder this is viewed as a valuable — and costly — benefit.
But how do pensioners deal with inflation if the monthly check doesn’t keep up? Over the past 70 years, inflation in consumer prices has averaged 3 percent annually.
Even at “only” 3 percent annual inflation, the value of your money is cut in half in just 25 years.
And one more question: If you choose the health insurance over the inflation protection, who’s to say the state won’t renege on parts of this promise, too?
via Pension reform poses difficult financial question for state retirees – Chicago Sun-Times.
The leader of one of the country’s most politically powerful unions said Thursday that national Democrats could have done more in the Wisconsin recall race.Gerry McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees AFSCME, said more could and should have been done in the effort to remove Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker R from office by the national party. Recalling Walker is of huge importance to labor, who became a conservative hero last year after facing off with unions over public workers’ collective bargaining rights.“We think that there could have been more responsibility, more work on behalf of the national Democratic Party. I think the Democratic Party in Wisconsin did basically everything that they could and can,” McEntee said. “We think they could and should have done more.” Read more…
via Public sector union head says Dems could do more for Wisconsin recall – TheHill.com.