Work on negotiations has been steady and methodical. For the first two months we concentrated on the HECCP (comprehensive reclassification of all jobs in our bargaining unit). In May, while we were still working on HECCP, we surveyed all dues-paying ACSUM members to discover what you would like to see in a new contract. We read and analyzed your comments– all 35 pages of them.. Your preferences guided us as we compiled the list of changes we want to propose for our 2011-2013 agreement. We are now working on both the HECCP and regular contract negotiations at the same time.

Early in July we made the formal exchange of issues with which contract negotiations begin. Also in July, Dale Kuczinski of Lewiston-Auburn College took over from Jim Bradley as lead negotiator. Jim has been promoted to a professional position. Having left the bargaining unit, he can no longer serve on the team. Peggi Loveless (UMA) has joined as our seventh team member.

We have now begun to turn our list of issues into concrete proposals, each written in the strict legalese in which contracts must be phrased. We must also draft counter-proposals to proposals submitted by UMS. When we receive proposals, we must discuss– at first each team separately, then with one another– what we find acceptable and what we think should be changed. We will keep discussing and drafting until we find language that both sides agree on. Then we move on to other issues not yet resolved. When all the issues are resolved, we have a tentative agreement. If our dues-paying members ratify that agreement by formal ballot, we have a contract.

As you can see, this is a long process, involving a lot of hard work. It is the patience and support of our fellow union members that sustains us through this difficult process. We thank you for both.

ACSUM Negotiations Team: Lisa Feldman, Dina Goodwin-Short, Dale Kuczinski, Rosanna Libby, Peggi Loveless, John Pavliska, Tim Pinkham.

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