Rates Discussed During Second Day of Negotiations

Our second day of contract negotiations was devoted to the discussion of rates.

As our membership is aware, the department wished to make deep reductions in the pay rate for the wing plow and closed loop ground speed control (as outlined on the last page of the 2013-2014 S&I agreement).  What we believe has not been factored into the rate equation is both the inherent risks involved in the operation of the wing, as well as the enormous cost savings contractors have helped the state realize as a result of installing wing plows and closed loop ground speed control.  Hundreds of large six wheelers, ten wheelers and tri-axle plow trucks have been cut from the plowing roster state wide over the last three years as a result of wings being installed on combo trucks.  This alone has saved the state millions over three years.  And with the introduction of closed loop ground speed control, state officials themselves have not only acknowledged, but have gone on the record in the media boasting about saving millions in salt costs as a result of hired contractors installing salt-saving closed loop computers.  After factoring in what contractors have saved the state we need to seriously consider not only what these components have cost us to install, but also the ongoing cost of maintaining these accessories, as well as the risks involved in operating them.  We all know that not just any truck driver can operate a combo with a wing, and we have additional liability and maintenance costs with this new equipment.  Year after year we hear about the damage to rear brake systems and wiring as a result of yet another chemical deicing agent the state wants us to pilot for them.  Dissimilar chemicals are clogging in-line filters and ruining flow meters which are mandated by DOT on all closed loop systems.  These are some of the reasons why the MSICA believes that the rates for the wings and closed loop systems should not be reduced.  We will continue in coming days to keep you all posted on our progress through this page, and our memebrs through Constant Contact!