Councilman Grohn Says Right To Work Group Examining New MOU Signed By Mayor Berke For SEIU City Union; Says Berke "Is In An Ivory Tower"

Monday, March 24, 2014

City Councilman Larry Grohn said Monday that a national Right to Work group is studying a 22-page memorandum of agreement signed by Mayor Andy Berke giving sweeping new rights to the Service Employees International Union, Local 205.

The Right to Work group is the same group that is involved in an effort to seek to block the United Auto Workers from gaining representation for Chattanooga Volkswagen employees. 

Councilman Grohn told members of the Pachyderm Club, "It will be your tax dollars paying for 600 hours of union members speaking to employees of the city."

He said aspects of the agreement "are similar to what we have heard from a certain official in Washington. It's the same we have in our ivory tower on 10th Street."

Saying he had no advance notification of the MOU, Councilman Grohn said the Berke administration promised to have the most transparent administration but he said has turned out to be the most secretive.

He said, "I've been blackballed by the mayor since last October."

He stated, "Supt. Rick Smith tried for three weeks to get an audience with the mayor."

SEIU has had a limited presence at the city in recent years, but it will be much more involved in city government under the new agreement.

Under the three-year pact, it is agreed that any organizational wide pay increase or benefit change will not be proposed by the city without allowing a sit-down meeting with SEIU leaders over the proposed changes.

The union will also have say-so on any city personnel policy changes.

The union is to be provided full information on employee names, ID numbers, job classification, job title, dates of hire, department, division, section, race, gender and rate of pay.

The city is also to provide the union with an update of new hires or terminations.

When a compensation study is undertaken, SEIU will be at the table.

Under the pact, the city is to recognize union "stewards" at the workplace.

Union officials are to be granted access to employees on the job site after conferring with department heads.

The union will have the right to post notices on city bulletin boards, and the union can hold meetings with employees before or after scheduled working hours and during breaks and lunch.

An employee who has received any form of discipline will be given an opportunity for SEIU to intervene or his or her part.

The agreement calls for the union to be allocated 600 hours of release time with pay each year to be used for the stewards to attend conventions and meetings, stewards' training, to make presentations of up to 20 minutes to new employees, to exercise rights of access to city property and to conduct worksite meetings.

Mayor Berke agreed that the city will continue deducting union dues from city paychecks.

No form of intimidation or retribution is to be taken against an employee who signs up with the union.

The agreement says it is "entered into between the parties with the understanding that the city of Chattanooga, like all Tennessee municipal governments, has no statutory authority to enter into binding agreements with its employees."

It does not apply to fire and police or members of the mayor's office, the city attorney's office and department of human resources employees.

There is an agreement not to strike or have a work stoppage.

City officials said the city "has had an MOU in place with SEIU for several years. The joint MOU from 2007 expired when the previous administration left office.

"The MOU only applies to “employees who desire to be represented” of the general government non-exempt employees. At this time, SEIU represents about eight percent of total employees. The city of Chattanooga has 927 employees eligible to be represented by SEIU and, of those, 210 are currently members.

“The Union is to be provided full information on employee names….” - SEUI would have access to eligible public personnel records just as Chattanoogan.com, any other media outlet or private individual would have.

"The bottom line is we work with employees groups every day, like the FOP, IAFF, IBPO, SEIU and more, to ensure we have a motivated workforce. Employee groups represent our employees so that they have feedback on policies and participation in important decisions that affect them. A good example of this was the recent pension discussions where employees were represented by employees groups who were present through every step of the process. In addition, an MOU with SEUI is nothing new. The city of Chattanooga has had an MOU in place with SEIU for several years and it applies to those employees who desire to be represented.”

 


3rd Suspect In Cleveland Church Burglaries Arrested

A third suspect in the burglaries of several Cleveland churches was identified on Monday. Upon viewing surveillance video, Detective Bill Parks received a tip about the third suspect. Detective Parks and an officer went to an address where he made contact with the suspect identified as Michael Martin, 22. While being interviewed by detectives, Martin confessed to entering two ... (click for more)

Man Arrested For Kenyon Road Shooting

A Chattanooga man was arrested after police said he followed a man in his car and blocked him in on Kenyon Road while another man began shooting at the man's vehicle. When police arrived, Antoine Greenhill said five or six shots had been fired at him. Police noted that his tires had been shot out and that one bullet had hit the driver side door. He said the man who opened ... (click for more)

Noise Fallout Coming Soon On Chattanooga's Flawed Sound Control Ordinance - And Response (3)

I have been practicing acoustical, audio and sound engineering for more than twenty years. Since I understand many aspects of sound, I sent the enclosed letter to the Chattanooga City Council members regarding some of my concerns on the impending noise ordinance changes. My comments were unacknowledged.     August 19, 2014 Dear Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Al Sharpton’s Wise Remarks

I’ll admit I paid little more than scant attention to the Monday funeral of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by police bullets in Ferguson, Mo., after he allegedly was involved in strong-armed robbery. There are too many tawdry details and, in my way of thinking, there is nothing under God’s sun, absolutely nothing, that gives others the right to riot, burn ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Christian Sweeps Notre Dame In 7-AA Volleyball

 It didn't matter that the Chattanooga Christian volleyball team was on the road Tuesday night.  Who cared that they were playing one of their biggest rivals in District 7-AA in a loud and spirited Jack Steiner Sr. Gymnasium at Notre Dame High School. None of those factors came into play as the Lady Chargers were ready to play and the Lady Irish were not. The results ... (click for more)

Fulghum, Walker Power Soddy-Daisy Past Cleveland

Soddy-Daisy’s Lady Trojans shook off an up-and-down performance in last weekend’s Early Bird tournament at Oak Ridge and throttled Cleveland, 3-0, in a District 5-AAA volleyball match Tuesday at Soddy-Daisy High School. The Lady Trojans (8-4, 2-1) swept the match with set scores of 25-18, 25-22 and 25-15. Abby Walker and Karigan Fulghum combined for 30 digs and 18 kills to ... (click for more)