Union Reaches Tentative Agreement.


The IUE-CWA Local 201 Avis – Budget Negotiating Committee reached a “Tentative” agreement with the AB Group (Logan/Headquarters) and Avis (Downtown/Cambridge) on a new 5 year (2013-2018) Contract on Thursday, July 24. The Unions Bargaining Committee has voted unanimously to recommend acceptance of the new Contract to our members.
The tentative agreement was reached after all day bargaining sessions on July 21- 22 and continued bargaining through July 25 by phone and e-mails.
The Union’s Chief Negotiator, Business Agent Ric Casilli, answered some anticipated initial questions from members as below:
Q. How would you characterize the tentative agreement?
A. It is excellent for current members whether you are at Avis or Budget. It is probably the biggest agreement financially our members have ever secured.
Q. What are the wage increases?
A. They are, per hour, $.60, $.55, $.55, $.50 and $.45 each July 1st over the 5 years, for members who have been employed for 2 years or over as of July 1, 2013. These last four increases also apply to all other members as soon as they are off their 2 year progression schedule.  The first $.60 per hour will be retroactive from July 1, 2013 pending ratification by members. Based on the approximate average wage of our Avis members of $14.00 – this would amount to an average of a 3.8% wage increase each year over the life of the Contract. Based on the approximate average wage of our Budget Members of $12.10 – this would amount to an average of a 4.4% wage increase each year over the life of the Contract. These are way above average wage gains in Contracts in these economic times!  In addition, there is an extra $.25 per hour added this October for all Avis and Budget members that will be in the new CSR multi-skill classification. (Sidenote:   Before this contract settlement, Avis members with over 2 years received in April a $.25 per hour increase so their increase for 2013 will now be $.85. If you are a CSR from Avis, it will total $1.10 per hour increasing the average 2013 pay raise percentage to almost 8.0% for one year.)
Q. What about wage increase for members with less than 2 years of service?
A. These members are on the progression charts (as in all previous contracts) BUT there have been MAJOR improvements in all the Budget progression schedules and even many of the Avis schedules for the different classifications. The net impact is that most members, with less than 2 years service as of July 1, 2013, are going to see bigger wage increases with the new Contract than would have under their respective old contracts. These members will receive the pay increases of the new improved schedules effective also retroactive to July 1, 2013. This will also fix any “parity” differences (inequality) between Avis and Budget members in the same classifications with similar service time, as all members shall be on the new improved same schedule for pay purposes. So, the pay equity issue for those with less than 2 years of service will be settled. These members then will also receive all the negotiated wage increases going forward listed in the second question above.
Q. What about wage “parity” (equality) between members that with more than 2 years service that are not fixed by the improved new progression schedules?
A. This issue has begun to be addressed and it will be addressed! This is a serious issue for the Union. The Union already has made “parity” (equality) proposals for 23 Budget Members and 18 Avis members based on their similar service and job classifications. The Company made a counter proposal and there was much discussion on the two proposals. The Company became concerned that this was a complicated and time consuming process to review so many individuals, their pay rates and history; and then to have to bargain each rate and time periods to reach parity - would delay, unnecessarily, reaching an agreement on the rest of the Contract. This would delay all members their general wage increases, other positive contract provisions and make the move into the new facility in September more difficult.
The Company requested to delay that bargaining until after ratification. A Letter of Understanding has been signed by both the Union and Company. That letter mandates such bargaining to occur immediately following ratification for a period up to 4 months (unless mutually agreed upon extensions are approved). If no agreement can be reached on any individual(s), then the parties agreed to work with an impartial mediator to resolve. If there still is a disagreement between the Union and Company, the Union has the right to picket, strike or will use other legal options at its disposal. The Company has signed a “good faith” commitment to bargain over the Unions equality proposals and we are confident we can reach an agreement that will lead to equality of wages of members, with over 2 years, in the same classifications and similar service dates. The Union has already requested bargaining dates on this important matter for late August, assuming a ratification of the main Contract.  It is important to secure now the incredible gains for all our members in front of us.
Q. Who will be involved for the Union in the follow-up “parity” (equality) negotiations?
A. I will be involved, along with our same full Union negotiating committee. The Union has Alex Brown (President), Bill Rounseville (Step 2 & 3 Avis/ Budget representative), Jorge Rivera (Avis Chief Steward), Eladio Quintana (Avis Steward), Kamau Hashim (Budget Chief Steward), and Mukhtar Abdul (Budget Steward) who are all on our negotiating committee. The Union recognizes the importance of these negotiations. This issue will be addressed by this Union.
Q. Why a 5 year Contract vs. the usual 3 year Contract?
A. The cost of this contract package is much higher than normal and the Company wanted to be able to spread out their higher financial costs over a longer period of time. The Contract merges a 30 year old Avis Union Contract (stronger) with a 4 year old (weaker) Budget Contract. Budget members will see a much more improved Contract in many areas, especially holidays, progression rate increases, overtime calculations and wage increases. Avis members shall see improvement in many areas also – such as their 401K, Avis Retirement plan and wages. Then there will be additional equality costs after the second round of negotiations on the contract reopener on parity to address the approximate 41 Avis and Budget members the Union has identified needing additional wage increases.
Q. When will we get a more detailed Summary of the Contract?
A. The Union intends to put out at least 2 more communications during the next 2 weeks. One will be a more detailed Contract Summary and one will address the important Parity (equality) Wage Negotiations that will open up in late August. Copies of the entire tentative agreement shall be given to members the day of the vote
Q. When will we vote on the Main “Tentative” Contract Agreement?
A. Voting will be held Thursday, August 15, 2013 at the Embassy Suite Hotel at Logan Airport. Informational Meetings and voting will be held most of the day for Avis members (Headquarters & Logan) and for Budget members (Logan). There will be separate ballots for each unit. Both units will be asked to approve merging the units together and then will vote on approving the new Contract Agreement. Exact times of meetings and voting will be announced soon. The Union is working on different arrangements for our Downtown Boston/Cambridge members for informational meetings and voting.
(July 30, 2013)