* Yelm City Council approved City Hall employees union contract last Tuesday
* 11 employees affected: front desk staff, clerks, associate planners
* These jobs change from “at-will” to contract posts
* Filing Grievances and Terminations now fall under union rules
* Unionization process lasted a year and a half process because of turnover
* Key question: What conditions led to unionization?
– Union President Tami Merriman said in the Nisqually Valley News, “The union ensures as employees we have a voice. This gives us administration staff a level playing field … to make sure all employees are treated fairly and equitably.”
– What does this mean?
The union contract removes these employees from being in “at-will” positions, where they could be terminated by their superior without just cause. The staff members in the union also have a process for filing a grievance against their supervisor if warranted, without fear of being terminated.
– On November 2, 2015, this Blog questioned what led to City Hall staff unionizing:
Questions require answers!
– The City of Yelm lost several high-profile and key personnel – WHY?
– Did Mayor Harding’s leaving the City Administrator job unfilled backfire? – WHY?
– A very high 70 percent of the 12 employees members signed unionization authorization cards – WHY?
– Unionizing by City Hall employees is THE most pronounced black-eye to Mayor Harding’s tenure – WHY?
Happy and satisfied employees do not unionize and the fact that the city lost key personnel followed by unionization will forever be Mayor Harding’s lasting legacy here.
This is probably now a lame-duck Mayor not likely seeking a 4th term in 2017, as he will be reigned-in on how he governs city hall.
[Editor’s Note: Harding subsequently resigned to become city administrator in a town less than half of Yelm’s size.]
– Bottom line:
As I said here last year, I repeat again today:
“This Blogger welcomes and supports Yelm’s city employees forming a union here. Fairness will now reign now for our city’s staffers.”
Further, a new City Administrator Michael Grayum is coming aboard with the skill-set to handle personnel issues properly and will bring much needed relief to city hall employees, not only in their job protection, yet in a less-stressed working environment where they feel they can go to a leader who will be “in-the-trenches” with them daily, plus provide some stability and a foundation for the future.
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