What are the major open issues in bargaining between the Club and the Union?
1. JOB SECURITY
The union has accepted the seniority clause that appeared in the Club’s “Last and Final” contract proposal in December 2009. However, 6 months into the lockout, the Club proposed the following changes to that clause (proposing to delete the language that is struck through, and add the underlined portions).
In the event the Employer finds it necessary to lay off employees or reduce hours due to slackness of business, such lay-offs shall be on the basis of seniority seniority will be determined within classifications, i.e., the Employee on duty in the establishment having the shorter period of continuous service with the Employer shall be laid off before any other employees having a longer period of continuous service. Employees shall be laid off within classification based on seniority, work performance, qualifications and efficiency and quality of service. The Employer agrees to give preference to laid off employees in re-employment by seniority within classification, provided the lay-off does not exceed twelve (12) months. Senior employees shall have preference of full -time employment, at all times. Reduction of shifts or hours of work shall be based on seniority within classifications. The Employer will distribute shifts to senior employees before distributing shifts to employees with less seniority, with the intention of providing as many hours of work as possible to senior employees.
Note that the Club is proposing to take away longtime workers’ “first dibs” on full-time shifts. That would mean that a 20-year worker with a perfect record could be scheduled for 4 hours a week, while a brand-new hire got 40. If business is down, that 20-year worker could be laid off entirely, while the new hire continued to work full time. After two years on the streets, workers are not inclined to go back to work on the condition that they could then be laid off or have their hours slashed without good cause. In August 2011, the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint alleging that the Club’s new seniority proposal “was designed to to deny the Locked Out Employees the right to return to their former positions of employment.”
2. HEALTH CARE COSTS
Under the old contract, qualifying workers received free family medical insurance. Under the Club’s current proposal, the Club would contribute up to $500 per qualifying worker per month for health care. However, the Club’s health plan charges $1349 per month for family coverage. So workers would be stuck paying the difference ($849), more than 40% of their average wage.
Under the union’s proposal, workers would pay $225 a month for family health care. Although this represents a significant loss in their take-home pay, most would be able to keep their families on the Club’s health plan – while saving the Club nearly $9,000 per month over the old contract, or about 30% of the health costs for union workers.
The Club’s contract proposal would allow it to subcontract the entire maintenance department (about 8 union workers). The union has agreed to allow subcontracting of jobs that require specialized equipment or skills that union workers don’t have, but has not agreed to let the Club lay off longtime workers and bring in subcontractors to perform the same tasks.
4. OPEN SHOP
The Club’s proposal would make it optional for workers to join the union and pay dues. Under California law, the union would have to provide equal representation to union and non-union workers – but the non-union workers would not have to pay dues to cover the costs of that representation. Given management’s publicly stated opposition to workers having union representation, workers are concerned about whether those who choose to be union members would be treated equally.