August 2012

Metro Police Civilians Join Local 205!

We are proud to announce that Local 205 will now be representing the civilian employees working at the Metro Nashville Police Department.

“The MNPD’s civilian employees have long cried out for effective union representation and now they have it,” says Doug Collier, president of SEIU Local 205. “These well-trained men and women play a valuable role in keeping Nashville safe and we are honored to represent them.”

Local 205 also represents public safety employees at the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, Metro 911, Nashville Hospital Authority, and in Metro Schools.

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SEIU Makes the Difference in Nashville School Board Races

Union members Michelle Hardy and Natasha Hobbs prepare for a hard day of campaigning for Amy Frogge.

Union members Michelle Hardy and Natasha Hobbs prepare for a hard day of campaigning for Amy Frogge.

SEIU members were thrilled to have helped elect Amy Frogge to the Metro School Board in the election’s biggest upset. Frogge, a public school parent, PTO president, and attorney, ran against a corporate executive who raised over $115,000 (and counting) and a well-known former Metro Council member. SEIU was the only organization to endorse Frogge, who won in a landslide even though she was outspent by nearly 5-to-1.

Tonya Darvin, an MNPS bus monitor and SEIU member was thrilled to see that her hard work for Amy’s campaign paid off. “I am so glad that we’re going to have some new blood on this school board,” Tonya said. ” We went out in the hot sun in record-breaking heat to talk to voters about the candidates and it was time and effort well spent. We need to move away from the anti-worker policies that have happened over the last year in the schools. Being pro-education means supporting all the people who provide the education. I’m hoping this new school board can move in that direction”.

In the other races, Ed Kindall narrowly lost re-election to the well-funded campaign of Sharon Gentry, Fred Lee came up short in a close race against Jill Speering, and Al Wilkins was defeated by the well-funded campaign of Will Pinkston, a former aide to Governor Bredesen.

Lill Russell, a special education assistant in Metro Schools who worked on the union’s campaign over the summer, took some of the election results in stride. “Look I’ve been around politics long enough to know that you win a few and you lose a few,” Lill said. “The struggle that we’re facing in MNPS isn’t going to be over after the polls are closed. This is an ongoing campaign to restore dignity, fairness, and employee rights. This election isn’t going to stop us from continuing to stand up for our co-workers, the taxpayers, and the students.”

Many SEIU members put as much value on the experience they had this summer as they did on the election results. “I’m so glad to have worked on this campaign this summer,” said Arlanders Hunter, an in-school suspension monitor at Maplewood High School. “I had a lot of fun and I learned a lot. Not just about politics, but how valuable my union is in making sure that my co-workers’ interests are looked out for. I plan on getting more involved with my union after this election is over.”

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Metro Government Workers Negotiate New M.O.U.!

We are happy to announce that bargaining with Metro Government has come to an end as the membership voted on July 31 to approve a new Memorandum of Understanding (also called the “M.O.U.”).

The M.O.U. is an agreement between SEIU Local 205 and Metro Government that governs relations between the union and Metro. Among other things, it lays out the union’s exclusive rights to represent Metro employees. It also gives us the right to bargain through meet-and-confer sessions on everything from the employee payplan to departmental policies, procedures, and rules. The M.O.U. also sets the parameters that allow for the Union to meet with workers, conduct meetings, release employees for union business, and represent them in disciplinary hearings and grievances. Negotiations with Metro began back in March once the union’s Bargaining Committee was selected.

The Bargaining Committee, which we reported on in the May issue of The Public Worker, was made up of rank-and-file Metro employees from different departments who are members in good standing of Local 205. The Bargaining Committee met with representatives from Metro H.R. on a host of issues and negotiated a new agreement that both sides felt comfortable with. Having a Tentative Agreement, the Committee recommended a Yes vote to the Union’s membership and notice was sent out informing Metro members of a Ratification Vote, which was held on July 31 at the Union Hall in Woodbine. The membership voted unanimously to support the new M.O.U. and it was signed by Mayor Karl Dean, his representatives, and—on the union’s side—by the Union President and the Bargaining Committee members.

“I’d like to thank the Bargaining Committee for all the hard work they did on the new M.O.U.,” said Doug Collier, president of Local 205. “There were some good improvements made in this agreement that lay the groundwork for us to develop an employee sick bank and to participate in the upcoming Mercer study—both of which affect nearly all city employees.”

The Bargaining Committee was made up of Daryl Hawkins (General Services), Robert Gilmer (Sheriff’s Office), James Bradley (Water Services), Thom Brown (911/ECC), Julie Burns (Public Library), Russ Anthony (Social Services), Rick Beasley (911/ECC), and James Staub (Public Library).

The Metro Government M.O.U. is valid until Dec. 31, 2014. Copies of the agreement are available at the Union office.


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