By Bill Bransford
June 3rd, 2013 | Uncategorized
In theory, your rights as a union member should be the same as your rights if you are in a bargaining unit and not a union member. Being a union member means you pay dues. Nonmembers do not pay dues but are supposed to receive representation rights and other benefits related to the union being the exclusive representative of employees in the bargaining unit.
While federal-sector labor unions have an obligation to represent all employees in the bargaining unit fairly, dues-paying members are likely to be more knowledgeable about the union and how it works and are likely to receive services from the union with a smile and enthusiasm that may not necessarily be present if the union is representing someone who is not paying dues. One of the biggest advantages of being in a bargaining unit is a grievance procedure that includes the availability, at the union’s option, of having grievances resolved by an outside arbitrator. Because arbitration is expensive and because it is difficult to challenge a union’s decision against arbitration, being a dues-paying member is a factor in your favor to obtain the arbitration option, if needed. Arbitration is widely viewed in the labor relations community as more favorable to employees than is the Merit Systems Protection Board. Continue reading “Being a union member has advantages”
It was a bold move for a government entity. In 2005, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania hired a private company to overhaul the archaic way it buys goods and services. It seemed simple enough, but what was innovative — and daring — was a key condition: 30 percent of the contractor’s compensation would come from the savings achieved. No savings, no payment.
Putting such a risk on the contractor paid off handsomely. Among other things, officials combined the buying clout and pricing data of all 89 executive branch agencies and departments to strike better deals. Without cutting a single program or service, Pennsylvania saved more than $140 million, or 21 percent, from its annual $700 million tab for everything from office and cleaning supplies to information technology services and tires. The savings far exceeded projections.
Pennsylvania is not alone. Similar value-based contracts enabled the New York City Board of Education to shave $86 million from its $720 million procurement budget, and state and local agencies are experiencing similar savings. Continue reading “Before Slashing Budgets, Find the Savings”