KFTC and the KFTC staff union agree on first union contract | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

KFTC and the KFTC staff union agree on first union contract

After the announcement of the KFTC staff union’s formation in October 2019, and recognition by KFTC’s Steering Committee, we took the bold step of building an initial contract through Interest Based Bargaining (IBB). This process – usually used for contract renewal –involves two sides coming together to find and negotiate around shared interests, instead of the more traditional confrontational method. We felt that this democratic and collaborative model fit best with KFTC’s values.  

It also took considerably more time, especially done during the COVID 19 pandemic. After 18 months and over 40 virtual meetings between teams from management and the staff union, as well as federal mediators, we are proud of the contract we created. Not least because our mediators believe that we have the very first initial contract agreed to by IBB!  

The contract, approved by the Steering Committee and Staff Union on May 13, is an expression of our shared commitment to the value and rights of KFTC staff, and of all working people. Highlights include:

  • Increasing funding for professional development leave
  • Raising our base hourly rate to $15 (from $14.53) and raising our base salary by $1,000 annually (to $37,030)
  • Doubling our compensation time available for employees to bank when they work overtime, and doubling the amount of comp time available for use per week
  • Adding Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a paid holiday and making Juneteenth a paid holiday, replacing the day after Thanksgiving
  • Expanding the definition of family in several clauses, including for bereavement leave and family leave
  • Tripling our existing parental leave policy to 60 days, while preserving other available family leave
  • Establishing how coaching, progressive discipline, and termination will be handled, as well as a clear process for addressing grievances
  • Establishing a Labor Management Committee to engage workers, management, and member leaders in an ongoing conversation to strengthen our bonds and our work to transform Kentucky
  • Agreeing that if the organization revives the Organizing Apprentice Program in the future, KFTC management will consult with union members about it first through the Labor Management Committee. 
  • Maintaining our fantastic, current health insurance plan through the life of the contract, which runs through November 2022

KFTC and the KFTC Staff Union are committed to the transformative, grassroots mission that is possible through a unique organization like ours. KFTC has been building power as a democratic, member-led body for 40 years, with a staff that has grown along with us. With this contract, we pave the way for strengthened collaboration between members and all levels of staff. 

From all of us at KFTC – we hope you will join us in celebrating this milestone, and join us as we push for new power and a new Kentucky where all of us can thrive. Let’s organize!

“There are many people we feel indebted to, who helped us make this contract what it is. We are grateful for the many former staff members who helped lay the groundwork for a strong staff union and make the case that KFTC as an organization is stronger when our workers are stronger. We are grateful to the CMRJB union representative Mike Hoagland and the federal mediators Tammy Poole and Chris Alford, who helped the bargaining teams navigate confusing and challenging processes of developing a first contract. And we are grateful to the KFTC member leaders who contributed hours to the bargaining process!”

– KFTC Staff Union

“From our recognition of the Union, and throughout the IBB process, our goal was to help KFTC continue becoming a place where all who share our vision feel belonging and respect. We understand that our staff are often on the front lines of very difficult work, and we are thankful for how they partner with members to fight powerful interests and develop grassroots solutions. We hope that the contract we worked to create with members of the KFTC Staff Union will help all of our staff receive care, improve our communications, and challenge all of us to be stronger leaders.”

– Lisa Abbott, Tiff Duncan, Burt Lauderdale, Meta Mendel-Reyes, and Alan Smith, KFTC management bargaining team