We wanted to touch base with you to let you know where we are with the back pay situation and what to expect in the next few months.
First and foremost, most employees have, at this point, received some backpay owed to them by the State. However, these amounts are just a fraction of what you are owed and we are still in the middle of the fight. Fortunately, in the current collective bargaining agreement we were able to secure language that requires the Employer to pay. So, the issue of whether or not the Employer will pay is no longer a part of the battle- we have won that fight. But there is still much to be done in the next few months to ensure that we get every single member- current and retired- paid all monies owed to them.
We have had many questions from employees regarding how the State has figured the back pay owed and what percentage of that amount has been paid to each individual. Due to increasing pressure from the Unions, the Governor has instructed the Agencies to put together a detailed document which will reflect what is owed to each individual employee and what amount has been distributed. Once we have received that information we will be able to share with each individual what you are specifically owed and what has been paid. We will notify the group as soon as we have that information in hand. It is due to the Unions by September 30th.
Next, and very important to the fight, the State and the Unions have banded together to seek legislation that would appropriate the funds necessary to make all employees whole with regards to the 2011 wage freeze. There was a bill introduced in the last sessio but Legislators were concerned about pension changes and did not pass the appropriations bill. Over the Summer, the Legislature held a special session and set up a committee to work on possible new pension legislation. Business Manager Mike Stout has been actively involve in meetings with Legislators as part of the We Are One coalition to both advocate for our members as well as to monitor the conversations that are happening regarding what new pension legislation proposals may look like. We expect the pension issue to be resolved sooner rather than later.
As such, we have continued to lobby our fight for the funds to be appropriated so that you can all be made whole. The Legislature is set to return on October 22, 2013 and we will be putting out to the membership in the following weeks talking points and other information necessary for you to contact your local legislators while we continue the fight at the Capitol and lobbying for our members. Be watching your emails in the upcoming weeks leading up to the new session.
Lastly, it has been brought to our attention by our Retiree members that the SERS website states that AFSCME employees will be receiving credit for the backpay at SERS once it is received. However, AFSCME members are not the only employees who will receive said credit as that applies to all affected Union members, including ISEA, Laborers' Local 2002 members. We have contacted SERS and they are going to be updating the website by the end of the week to include and reflect all affected Unions.
We must continue the fight united! We will not stop until we have won!