In December the Gilbert, Arizona, Town Council voted to impose a supermajority vote of all workers to retain their rights to collectively “meet and confer” with management on workplace issues. It was an unreasonable bar for the Council to set – and an un-American one given that no politician would consider holding themselves the same standard.
During the past two weeks, Gilbert employees voted overwhelmingly in favor of participating in the meet and confer process that works to improve town services, with 87.8% of those who cast ballots voting to keep meet and confer. Results show that 230 employees voted “Yes” and 32 voted “No.” However, the supermajority vote demanded by Town Council, requiring at least 2/3rds of the employees to cast a ballot, was not met. For perspective, the Town Council members were all elected by a simple majority of those who voted – in every case, by less than 10% of registered voters in the Town of Gilbert.
On Monday, February 6, results were announced and Gilbert employees were told that they would no longer be allowed to participate in meet and confer.
While workers valued the process of meet and confer, town employees say the vote doesn’t change the big picture. “Town employees remain committed to serving the public interest by holding management and the council to the highest standards of accountability,” said Chapter President Fernando Villalobos. “Employees are resolved to continue to advocate for the Town’s residents and for working families all over Arizona.”
Town of Gilbert employee Gabriel Soto added, “As a longtime resident, taxpayer, town employee and registered voter, I will continue to unite with my coworkers to have a voice at work that advocates for good public services and the well-being of all Arizona families.”
SEIU Members Benefit ALL Gilbert Employees!
In Gilbert, SEIU Members have worked hard to achieve these gains:
Members in Action!
Now we need YOUR help!
In May 2008 Gilbert employees overwhelmingly voted YES for SEIU representation in a secret ballot election. Now, the Town Council is demanding new elections and requiring two-thirds of all eligible employees to vote yes to keep our place at the bargaining table.
Unite with your coworkers to keep your voice at work: Vote SEIU YES!
More can be done with your support! Click here to download the flyer — and pass it on!
Gilbert Town Council members are elected by one set of rules — but they have made up another set of rules for you!
SEIU State members Jack York, Tomás Pino, D. B. White and Chandler chapter member Mark Hardenburg stood with thousands of other members, allies and friends and marched on the Capitol in Washington, D. C., from December 5 – 9, braving the cold and rain to demand that Congress work together to create policies that will restore the American Dream.
“Blog for Arizona” author, David Safier, joined our group and had this observation: “One important thing I learned from the week was how committed the SEIU is to getting the word out about problems with income disparity and joblessness in the country. They were a major presence in the Take Back week.” Read more of his blog here.
As Congress deliberates the extension of unemployment insurance benefits for more than 2 million people and the deficit reduction recommendations of the Super Committee—which could include devastating cuts that would destroy millions of jobs—we reminded elected leaders to represent all Americans, not just the richest 1%.
Our members spent all day Tuesday in Sen. Jon Kyl’s office, to tell him that his Arizona constituents want him to advocate for all his voters, not just his wealthy donors. CNN joined them and posted this story on their website.
Wednesday, we marched on K Street, protesting the influence of lobbyists and their money on politicians, as the Washington Post reported.
And Thursday, we participated in a prayer vigil, with unemployed folks and faith leaders, then marched to the Capitol, demanding that Speaker of the House, John Boehner to demand that he stop blocking efforts to create jobs. Read more from the Associated Press.
SEIU Arizona members from Gilbert, Chandler and State Chapters joined allies here — and members across the nation — to declare an economic emergency for the 99% and tell Congress to support job-creating policies to repair America’s crumbling infrastructure.
In communities across America SEIU members participated in bridge actions. In New York City, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry was arrested, along with other community leaders and clergy. See coverage of her arrest on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show.”
The rally was held on the historic bridge over the Grand Canal on 15th Ave., north of Indian School Rd. The aging bridge was one of several structures in Arizona that are structurally deficient.
When the Arizona legislature passed a bill discriminating against union members and challenging our rights to free speech, SEIU fought back and won a major victory for union members!
On Friday, September 23, a Federal District Court in Arizona issued a preliminary injunction against Arizona SB1365. The law prohibited employers from deducting union and professional organization dues that would be used for “political purposes.” Judge G. Murray Snow stated that by targeting only certain unions, the law was discriminatory and in violation of the First Amendment.
This is a huge victory for working people in Arizona, and a blow to anti-union forces that are using the legislature to undermine the fundamental rights of workers. SEIU members joined other unions, including the local affiliates of NEA, UFCW and AFSCME and made the case that the law was a direct assault on the First Amendment. The Judge agreed – he ruled that the entire law was unconstitutional.
Our fight will go on, because these politicians will continue their attacks on public services and the public employees who provide them. See the editorial SEIU Arizona State Director Don Carr wrote in May, alerting members to the lawsuits filed to stop the legislature’s unconstitutional bills from taking effect.
SEIU members will continue to stand together as we fight to preserve the merit system and protect workers from unfair discipline, prevent staff cuts, and provide appropriate staffing to get the jobs done without breaking workers’ backs.
Through SEIU, members are united with co-workers all around the state. We are Stronger Together – and together we have the power to make positive changes for all Arizonans!
With the closing of this year’s “meet and confer” process, ratification of SEIU’s Memorandum of Understanding by members and approval by the Town Council, Gilbert’s SEIU-represented employees are seeing significant changes in the Town’s process and procedures, as well as benefits for the employees.
We are happy to announce the following accomplishments our dedicated team negotiated on behalf of all SEIU employees for 2011.
● Wage reopener with possible increases at Meet and Confer in January 2012.
● You have the right to provide input into your Supervisor’s performance evaluation.
● Supervisors will consider supportive action before any discipline, and when warranted, imposed discipline will be reasonable.
● You have the right to go to binding arbitration for any MOU or Rule violation, suspension, termination, or other decisions that have an
adverse economic impact.
● You have the right to receive copies of everything in your personnel and work station files.
● You will have a say regarding changes to equipment, computer systems and uniforms you use.
● You will be reimbursed for mileage for travel for stand-by and on-call assignments.
● You will receive Out of Classification pay after 14 required work days (reduced from 30 days).
● Employees on five 8-hour schedules will receive an additional floating holiday.
● You may receive additional (along with your standard 3 days) bereavement leave for special circumstances (no limit).
Together we Bargain — Alone, We Beg.
With SEIU, We really are Stronger Together!