CREATIVE CONTRACT STRUCTURING AMIDST COVID-19
By Andrea Warpula
As we find ourselves dealing with all of the complexities of navigating the uncharted waters surrounding COVID-19, it has become increasingly commonplace to see a lot of the little things being let go. Things that aren’t as pressing, like contract negotiations. Given all of the pressures being placed onto administrators and police officers to try and protect our health and the health of our respective communities, it is not surprising that bargaining a contract has had to take a back seat.
In my position as an Area Vice-President, I haven’t encountered any of the departments in my area in this predicament, with the exception of my own. My Local has been out of contract since June of 2019, despite repeated efforts to bring the Town to the table. One of the biggest challenges our Union has faced has been an ongoing issue with the Town Manager’s blatant failure to even respond to any of our requests. This ongoing lack of communication began long before the onslaught of issues surrounding COVID-19. Once the reality of this virus hit, it became readily apparent that we were not going to be able to engage in any type of bargaining in the traditional sense, so we had to get creative.