GFT President Tim Fedenko sent five questions from the COPE committee, pertaining to current worker issues, to both gubernatorial teams, giving them the opportunity to state their agenda in addressing these issues. Both election teams were given the questions on October 9, 2014 with a submission deadline on October 20, 2014. The following questions were sent:
1. Since 1965, GFT represents employees through the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) process, Civil Service Commission matters, and through the court processes. GDOE support staff CBA remains unsigned since its ratification by the Board and GFT on 2010. The Port Authority of Guam CBA remains in limbo as well. With the recent delays of the collective bargaining process, what would you do to ensure that the collective bargaining agreements are not delayed by the agencies under your directive?
2. Cases currently filed at the Civil Service Commission are not heard until about two years later. Employees seeking justice, resolutions and restitution at their work place are robbed from an expeditious system. What will you do under your administration to ensure that employees are heard promptly?
3. Filing an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge should be able to resolve some issues faced by GFT, but there are not timelines for the Department of Administration to respond to ULP’s. What will you do to ensure ULP’s are heard in a timely manner by your Department of Administration?
4. Despite the recent implementation of the Competitive Wage Act of 2014 (CWA), government employees still feel underpaid. Some veteran employees felt insulted when their entire paycheck rose less than five cents. What would your administration do to keep wages competitive for new and veteran employees?
5. Since 2008, not all Workman’s Compensation claims have been reviewed and resolved. There is no expeditious process to get the employee back to gainful employment or vocalize their concerns. What public accountability is there that this process is working, and what would you do under your administration to expedite cases?
1. We will order that all agency directors and designees immediately sign all CBAs that have been negotiated and we will immediately execute them as well. Attorney Gumataotao has a proven record for ensuring that the Government of Guam execute and honor all CBAs. We are going to bring back good faith and fair dealing by GovGuam.
2. A Gutierrez Gumataotao Administration will bring the matter of fairness and timelines to the highest levels of government. As such, we will require that monthly status reports from all agencies be submitted to Lt. Governor Gumataotao on every formal grievance and adverse action pending with the agency to ensure that these matters are being handled fairly and in an expeditious manner. Our review of each case will ensure that there is fairness and consistency government-wide in all matters involving grievances and adverse actions. Government employees deserve prompt and fair treatment at all levels.
3. We will work with the union to develop additional regulations that are consistent with the Public Employee-Management Relations Act so as to set forth timelines and procedures to ensure that an investigation and outcome will be effected in a timely manner.
4. This is a two-part issue. First, the government needs to find creative solutions to the problem of funding compensation for all government employees. Second, we need to take steps to ensure that professional and technical employees such as teachers, librarians and nurses receive compensation that is fair and equitable as well as appropriate to the standard of education and certification. For example, in 2009 the Port Authority of Guam undertook an independent analysis of pay schedules for the certified technical employees there to serve as a basis for fair and equitable compensation. So long as we develop appropriate criteria and can properly fund it, a Gutierrez Gumataotao Administration will work to increase the compensation of all professional and technical government workers. GDOE in particular can and should have a dedicated revenue stream that is independent of government operations so as to ensure that the compensation schedules are paid in full. The Hay Study was inadequate and clearly Eddie Calvo is not interested in taking care of employees and teachers as they are refusing to sign the CBAs. We will bring back good faith and fair dealing in government.
5. The Office of the Lt Governor will require regular reports from the Department of Labor regarding workers compensation claims that are in dispute so as to ensure proper address and payment.
1. Guam DOE isn’t a line agency. It’s run by a superintendent hired by the Guam Education Board. Having said that, I will sign the Guam DOE support staff collective bargaining agreement as soon as I receive it.
The Port, also not a line agency, has a contract still going through the review process. As long as it passes muster with the Office of the Attorney General and other reviewing authorities, I don’t have a problem with it.
2. CSC needs more employees. With our financial situation improving, we’ll soon be able to work with Commissioners to get the CSC the additional employees needed to fulfill its mission.
3. We’d like to establish, between DOA and GFT, an MOU that provides timelines, which will help ensure hearings are addressed in a timely manner.
4. First of all, we’re not going to do what our opponent did and refuse to honor the process of updating wages every three years. We’ll update the government of Guam’s wage structure to prevent these disparities.
5. One of the issues is there were a handful of employees who did not follow the worker compensation process – I’m not sure what the reason for that is. But certainly any veering from the process in what is already a difficult and emotionally charged situation can only complicate things. That said, if there are ways to improve the process, we’re open to suggestions and recommendations.