My name is Megan Brewer. I am currently the City of Lockport CSEA union president. I am writing this letter to publicly clarify the relationship that CSEA members have with the City of Lockport administration.
After several failed attempts at settling our labor contract, I feel like I have no other choice but to express my disappointment and frustration in a public forum.
CSEA members have been without a contract for almost nine years. In that time, we have reached two tentative agreements, the last being shot down by the Common Council with no plausible explanation. I was hopeful when the old administration left office that city unions and city officials could get past the long-standing dysfunctional relationship, but I am sad to say that has not happened.
As president, I have made several attempts over the past three years to communicate cooperatively with the Council to not only negotiate terms and conditions of employment, but to gain an understanding of all points of view. I have been met with nothing but resistance and condescending comments in response. An alderman has gone so far as to ask me not to speak to him directly, only through Corporation Counsel.
After our last attempt at negotiating a fair and reasonable contract, it became crystal clear to me the Common Council has no intention of honoring the collective bargaining process. They offered our members a regressive agreement that was so offensive we were forced to file bargaining in bad faith charges, which only delays the negotiation process further.
Just recently, it was brought to my attention Alderman Oates has been speaking with CSEA members outside of negotiations, which is the definition of bargaining in bad faith. Mr. Oates is blaming me for not being willing to negotiate, when I have countless emails imploring city officials to come back to the table. All of those attempts to reconcile and remedy have fallen on deaf ears.
The politics and self-serving acts of the Common Council need to stop. The fact remains, I have always been fully prepared to move forward and build better relationships within city government. Unfortunately, we still haven’t been able to ascertain what motivates some members of Common Council who continue to deviate from the norms of good faith bargaining and efficient governing practices.
I also want to apologize to all city employees that have been adversely affected by the poor relationship between our city unions and city officials. Your continued dedication to the delivery of public services is inspiring despite being treated as second class citizens.
MEGAN BREWER, CSEA unit president, City of Lockport