On behalf of AEU members, I’d like to take a minute and recognize the context which we will begin our reopener negotiations. AEU represents over 200 members, who each day carry out the mission of CSEA.
It is important to understand that in the nearly 15 months since the Janus decision, with the direction of the CSEA leadership and its staff, we have found ourselves in a position in which CSEA is uniquely able to recognize and address the needs of its staff. Through the efforts of all, we were able to mitigate the flood gates opening and loss of members; our collective efforts resulted in fewer than 2,000 CSEA members opting out of their membership, outperforming the projected membership loss.
As a staff, we share the desire to build a better workplace for our CSEA membership, to see them thrive, and to share in the rewards of such efforts. This membership retention has resulted in approximately $2 million dollars staying in the budget on an on-going basis from dues.
Based on AEU’s review of the last four (4) years of CSEA budgets, we have seen $6.3 million dollars in savings from unfilled/vacant staff positions in salary. Unfilled positions meant, nearly $2.8 million in savings on medical insurance/dental/life and vision and $5.3 million in defined benefit pension savings. In total, there has been $14.6 million in savings stemming from unfilled/vacation positions.
Less staff has resulted in increased pressures in the field, turnover has resulted in lost consistency and stability in the field working for our CSEA members. These circumstances have added to the stress of an already stressful vocation. This context has resulted in CSEA becoming a training ground for other Unions. We can no longer afford to spend the money on training new staff, only to see them walk away. It hurts us all.
Since January 1, 2016, CSEA has had a nearly 38% percent turnover in staff. That number is even higher in the Senior LRR and LRR positions at 42.8%. Meaning, we have roughly 2 out of 5 employees with less than three years with CSEA. CSEA has the ability to ensure staff is properly compensated, the positions are filled, and we continue to carry out the mission of CSEA in order to build the Union our members and staff deserve.
With all this said, we believe our bargaining proposal represents a solid rationale, based on the numbers and context we find ourselves in.
For more specifics and our initial proposal please see the attached.