ITEM 112-104-R0901

 

TO:                   Board of Regents

 

FROM:              Sue I. Hill, Director

                        Labor Relations and Personnel

 

RE:                   Approval of Tentative Agreement with Montana Public Employees Association

 

DATE:               September 27-28, 2001

 

Attached is a copy of the tentative agreement with Montana Public Employees Association (MPEA).  The attachment includes only those sections of the collective bargaining agreement where changes were made.  The entire agreement is available to review on line at: http://mus.edu/hr/cba/collbarg.asp

 

MPEA represents the university system’s largest bargaining unit including approximately 1,650 classified employees who perform a wide variety of manual, clerical, technical, paraprofessional and professional duties.  The collective bargaining agreement covers employees at the Colleges of Technology, The University of Montana-Missoula, Montana Tech, Montana State University-Bozeman, and Montana State University-Billings.

 

This tentative agreement was negotiated using an alternative approach to negotiations that focuses on interests rather than positions, involves open discussion and active participation by all committee members, and is much more team-building and less adversarial than traditional negotiations.  We shared the cost of two full days of training on interest-based bargaining techniques and kept on track with the very able assistance of two internal facilitators, John Squillante from The University of Montana-Missoula and Glen Leavitt from the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.  Our success with this interest-based bargaining process has caught the attention of the state’s labor relations community and will be discussed at an upcoming Labor Relations and EEO Conference.

 

The major issue in these negotiations was the implementation of the alternative classification and compensation program, the Montana Achievement Project (MAP).  MAP was designed to focus on communication between employees and their supervisors and performance planning and development, and for the first time established a link between pay and job performance.  Implementation of MAP will require extensive training and coordination.  The complete MAP Performance Development and Compensation Programs Guide that was adopted in negotiations with MPEA and describes MAP in detail is available on line at: www.montana.edu/wochelc/ctf/.  January 1, 2002, was set as the deadline for completion of MAP training and the latest start date of the first formal performance development cycle.  Labor Management Committees have been established to oversee the implementation of MAP.

 

The salary package for MPEA employees includes:  a 4% salary increase on November 1, 2001;  .5% Achievement Pay on November 1, 2002, for employees who have met their performance goals; the greater of $700.00 or 3.75% on November 1, 2002; and .5% Achievement Pay on June 1, 2003, for employees who have met their performance goals.  Effective January 1, 2002, MPEA employees are eligible for other forms of optional pay increases outlined in the MAP guide such as lump sum awards.  The increase in the employer’s contribution to health insurance was in accordance with state law ($30 per month increase in FY 02 and $41 per month increase in FY 03).

 

There were quite a few language changes that were included as a part of the tentative agreement.  Several of the changes were to remove references to grades and to the state classification system that are no longer applicable under MAP.  The changes to Articles I, IV, VII, XI (Sections 4, and 6), XII (Sections 1, 2, 4, 6-D), XII, XIII, and XIV fall into that category.  Improvements were made to the provisions governing warning letters in Article X, Sections 6 and 7.  Lengthening the time that warning letters remain in employees’ personnel files was a major priority in this round of negotiations.  The definition of just cause was added to the agreement at Article X, Section 2, and the provision on Employee Assistance was modified.  Seniority, layoff, and hiring procedures included in Section XI were modified slightly to address employer and union interests.  A new provision was added to the agreement to make employees better aware of their ethical obligations under the state’s conflict of interests statutes. The employer was given increased flexibility to modify certain employees’ work schedules  (Article VII, Section 5) and the commitment to continue past practices regarding the provision of a free meal was deleted from Article VII, Section 6.

 

The MPEA bargaining unit has ratified the tentative agreement and training and other activities necessary to implement MAP are ongoing.  I enthusiastically recommend approval of the tentative agreement with the Montana Public Employees Association.  I’d also like to acknowledge the long hours and significant contributions of both the union and the employer bargaining committee members.  Representing the union were: Vicki Miller and Milana Lazetich, MSU-Bozeman; Marlene Davis and Debbie Brown, MSU-Billings, Jean Smith, Helena CoT; Gay Allison, Beverly Brooks, and Kath McChesney-Lape, UM-Missoula; Sue Thomas and Jerry Van Every, MSU CoT-Great Falls; Kurtis Lean and Tami Patrick, Montana Tech; and Quint Nyman and Bob Chatriand, MPEA.  Representing the employer were:  Mary Elllen Baukol, MSU CoT-Great Falls; Susan Alt, MSU-Bozeman; Kathy Crego, UM-Missoula; Ray Quan, MSU-Billings; Maggie Peterson, Montana Tech; and Chuck Jensen, Helena CoT.

 

xc:        Commissioner Crofts

President Dennison

            President Gamble

            Chancellor Sexton

            Chancellor Gilmore

            Dean Gray

            Dean Moe