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Jun 1, 2012

S.S.B. employees black ribbons for Collective Bargaining Agreement

The Social Security Board turned thirty-one today. But there was not much of a celebration in fact, to mark the occasion its employees countrywide wore black ribbons to signal their unhappiness because they have been unable to sign on a new collective bargaining agreement. The Christian Workers Union is also threatening industrial action because of the foot dragging. The Union, which represents about two hundred of the three hundred employees, and the S.S.B. have been bucking heads over the new collective bargaining agreement for years. The two finally found common ground and concluded negotiations shortly before the March seventh elections. The C.B.A., however, was not signed when the S.S.B. board of directors was dissolved. According to the Union, the new chairman, Doug Singh, has not moved forward with the negotiated terms and conditions. Union President, Antonio Gonzalez, says it has been a long and frustrating battle and they want the new collective bargaining agreement in place.


Antonio Gonzales, President, Christian Workers Union

Antonio Gonzales

“If you can recall that sometimes early this year we had a lot of noise regarding the negotiations with the Social Security Board and that collective bargaining agreement has not been signed as yet. Bear in mind that before the elections, we had completed the negotiations and that both sides were vetting the document along with the labor commissioner and the document was up for singing. But then came the elections and the board was dissolved but you still had some members of the board working there. The union says this is not about members of the board of directors, this is between S.S.B. and the Christian Workers Union; S.S.B. as the entity, not the board of directors or the members of the board of directors. So this process has been very frustrating for us. It’s going over five years that we’ve been trying to negotiate this collective agreement and at the eleventh hour, when we’re about to sign is when they say that they couldn’t sign the document. Now, what followed was a series of correspondence between the union and S.S.B. and some with the chairman himself, Mr. Doug Singh. And it appears that still yet they are stalling the signing of this collective agreement. The terms, conditions and everything have been agreed between both parties; the Christian Workers Union and the S.S.B. in fact some of the benefits that were negotiated have already been paid to the staff, to our members. But what is lingering and what is focusing more with the signing of this agreement is we have a long service payment award whereby employees with so many years get a certain amount of money and up to now, since the agreement has not been signed, that means that is in limbo right now and with some other benefits and situations whereby conditions of working and so forth and so forth.”


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