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Business Analysts Vote to Join Local 120!

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April 14, 2010, Tacoma, WA
By John Ohlson, President, Local 120 AFSCME

After 8 long years of campaigning, card signing, grievances, arbitrations and more, the Business Analysts of the City of Tacoma's IT Department have voted to join Local 120's City of Tacoma Bargaining Unit.

In a landslide election,
City of Tacoma's IT Dept Business Analysts voted 2:1 to join Local 120

After a 7 day waiting period, the vote becomes final, and the new members begin the process to transition from at-will employees who worked nights and weekends with no pay, to represented workers who will now be able to enjoy standby pay, overtime pay, job security, seniority, layoff protections and time at home with their families on nights & weekends, governed by the 2008 - 2010 Local 120 COT contract.

The new members are part of the 140 member City of Tacoma bargaining unit, which represents IT workers, Warehouse Technicians, Cable TV workers, Buyers, Artists, and Print Shop workers.

This organizing process began back in 2002, when the city signed a letter of agreement with the Union, promising to voluntarily recognize any new jobs created from the Business Systems Improvement Project (BSIP) as represented by the Union:

If the City creates any new classifications as a part of or as a result of BSIP/SAP that is not supervisory, confidential or is clearly not bargaining unit work of any of the signatory Unions, the City will voluntarily recognize that classification as being represented by the appropriate signatory Union.

The negotiations for this letter of agreement were difficult, and even involved some bribery by then HR Director Phil Knudsen. The final compromise was embodied in the above clause from the letter, and it was hoped that the city would make good on its promises.

But when the project ended in 2004, the city instead chose to utilize the 'Management Analyst' classification to place the IT Department employees in their new jobs, thus avoiding Union representation, since the MA classification itself was not 'new'.

In 2006, the Union filed a unit clarification with PERC, seeking to recognize the MA's as bargaining unit members, since they were performing the business analysis work of our Application Developers. The city won the unit clarification, after testifying that the MA's didn't work 'behind the screen' of SAP, but rather did end user tasks 'in front of the screen'.

The Business Analysts are charged with configuring & maintaining the city's SAP computer system, and have been reclassified from Management Analysts to IT Business Analysts, and finally to 'Business Analysts' over the years.

Fast forward to 2010, and the required number of BA's signed union cards have been gathered to trigger the certification election, and we are now over 20 members stronger, making the workplace a better place for everyone.

 
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Quote of the day: "For a worker to refuse to belong to a union is not to exercise a democratic freedom. It is to accept benefits that others have worked for without contributing to the costs. Democracy flourishes only when freedom is accompanied by responsibility." (Australian Bank Employees Union).


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Local 120 AFSCME
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