Dear Local 2748 Member;
Please carefully review the attached Educational Arbitration Award for Local 2748---Professional Social Services Bargaining Unit. Arbitrator Herman Torosian found in favor of four of our eight grievants .
Mr. Torosian's findings were based on his conclusion that the contract phrase "A" career-related "A" refers to a degree program OR individual courses that are related to the work of the agency and bargaining unit.
Simply put, if the degree itself is relevant, all course work leading up to that degree is covered. The employer's argument [attempted by all three employing agencies DWD, DHFS, and DOC] that it approves courses not degrees was rejected.
If the degree itself is not career-related [such as law school], individual courses within that degree program are still covered, if they are logically or reasonably connected to that employee's occupation.
This Arbitration Award helps clarify the intent and usage of our PSS language concerning Professional Development. We as individual members and as a union need to remain vigilant in upholding our rights under the labor agreement.
I can tell you that since I became involved with our contract negotiation process in 1995, the State as employer has repeatedly tried, unsuccessfully, to weaken our PSS Professional Development language at the bargaining table. From my perspective, money or cost to the employer has never been the real issue to them. Rather, the employer does not like the employee discretion inherent to our contract language.
Dozens of current and former Local 2748 members were involved with this arbitration. Thank you very much to everyone who helped out!
The union's legal firm, Lawton & Cates, handled our presentation due to the complexities of these issues. AFSCME Field Rep Diana Miller's work on our case was also instrumental. The excellent technical and financial support provided by Council 24 toward this effort drives home the value of our AFSCME affiliation.
Members with questions about our Professional Development language are welcome to contact me or their Council 24 Field Reps. Thank you.