The state’s new financial and personnel information system has brought a lot of changes to Executive Branch employees, and far too many problems have arisen as a result. Although the path to the new system has been long, and there are many state employees involved in the project, the changes employees are experiencing appear to be a mixed bag of goods at the moment. Many employees have reported payroll and leave balance errors. Many are reporting they cannot access their critical personal information or in house postings, now that the State has moved all of that information and procedures to the Lawson system.
SEA staff have been receiving a lot of complaints about the new system and are working with members and stewards to make sure that employee issues are being addressed. State employees that receive those error calls are working hard to make employees whole. Additionally, we are going to consult with the Department of Administrative Services (the lead agency in implementation of the new system) to try to make more progress on ironing out how workers can move forward without any loss of rights, benefits or compensation the new system may pose. In the meantime though, one major change – “in-house” postings becoming statewide Executive Branch postings – is something we felt employees needed a bit more information about.
Aside from the fact that accessing the system to see in-house postings has been very challenging to many employees, the fact that workers from different agencies will now be considered “internal” candidates means that we’ll likely see employees moving from agencies more frequently. However, not all Executive Branch agencies are covered by the collective bargaining agreement between the State and the SEA, and some employees aren’t covered by any collective bargaining agreement at all. Making things more complex is the fact that some 300 workers may be considered “confidential*” by the employer and not eligible for any bargaining rights even if they do work in an agency whose other workers are covered by the SEA contract.
There are some key differences between positions that are covered by the contract and ones that are not. Here are just some of the differences, meaning rights and privileges that you would lose without your SEA contract:
- access to supplemental sick leave when facing a serious health crisis
- larger end of employment payouts at retirement
- access to prior years’ service credit pertaining to annual leave accruals after a split in service
- the ability to negotiate step increases when moving from one position to another
- better protections against layoff
- better sick dependent and bereavement leave
- grandfathered bonus leave retention
- increased bonus leave retention
- an expanded definition of family for the purposes of sick dependent and bereavement leave
- retroactive pay for delayed reclassifications
- worker representational rights
These are meaningful differences in compensation and benefit packages that employees value. This should be carefully considered when deciding to take a position that is not covered by the CBA, or when undertaking new duties that may change your status as an employee.
*Confidential employee status is currently under litigation between the SEA and the State. The SEA remains committed to ensuring that the number of workers that are stripped of their collective bargaining rights is left at a minimum, due to the inherent loss such employees experience.