A two-year contract was approved by the District 15 Board with its transportation union by a vote of 4 Yes (Babcock, Bokor, Ekeberg, Seiffert) to 3 No (Herr, Iannuzzelli, Sriram) on June 26th.
Following are some brief remarks explaining why I voted No.
In February at our 2nd negotiations session with the DTU I listed five principles that are important to me as an individual Board Member:
In my view the proposed contract doesn’t accomplish enough in these areas.
I’ll comment briefly about three areas:
- First is Safety: I believe a Safe Environment requires a Culture of Safety. Although there are provisions in the contract that will likely improve safety, I’m not convinced these address core safety issues and that there is a commitment from the top to a Culture of Safety.
- Second is Collaboration: A Collaborative Environment can address shortcomings of a contract in an informal way. This is especially important in the area of Safety. However, the negotiations over the past several months would not be described by anyone as Collaborative. Unfortunately I’m not optimistic this will turn around.
- Third is Economics (which is part of Efficiency): The Administration didn’t provide the Board with an economic analysis of the proposed contract including expected impact on the forecast and key metrics. One key metric is the cost per mile. District 15′s cost per mile is roughly 30% higher than surrounding in-house and outsourced transportation departments. Although there are some improvements in economics it’s my sense that they won’t significantly close this 30% cost gap.