Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Port union contract in limbo

Port union contract in limbo

Monday, 01 February 2010 03:32
by Jennifer Naylor Gesick | Variety News Staff

EMPLOYEES of the Port Authority of Guam have been trying to negotiate a contract with the management for two years, but the Port board has refused to sign off on anything, even things they are required by law to negotiate, Matt Rector, president of Guam Federation of Teachers, said yesterday.

The Port board is required by Guam law to negotiate scheduling, pay, hours and terms of employment seniority, according to Rector, who recently resigned as a senator and is back to serving as the chief negotiator for the union.

He said many employees currently do not know their schedule from one day to the next, making it very hard for them to plan to their attendance at family and school functions for their children.

The law states that the employees be given a two-week schedule two weeks in advance, but employees only know which shift they work and have to call in or wait for a phone call on a day to day basis to see which hours they will be working.

The law also says employees should work regular eight-hour shifts, but employees currently work 11 to 12 hours, and management "changes it up at the last minute to avoid overtime," Rector added.

"They will go from working 11 to 12 hour shift only to be cut down to a four hour shift the next day," he said.

In two years the board has not signed off on one single term proposed by the union. "Their counterproposals are basically everything struck out," Rector said.

Bernandette Meno, communications director for PAG, declined to comment on GFT’s allegation.

"The PAG was requested to sign a confidentiality agreement as per the union negotiations, so while the union can speak publicly about the negotiations, we are prohibited from doing so," Meno said.

GFT sent a mass email to its members, asking them and their supporters to tell the management of the Port to negotiate in good faith with the employees.

"The board members will open their emails tomorrow to see their inbox full," Rector said "And this is just one of an ongoing set of pressures we're going to put on the board management.”

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