Planners Chapter Take Telecommuniting and Hiring Inequities into Their Own Hands

Local 21 is not in bargaining for another two years because of our contract extension, but that’s not stopping members of the Planners and Environmental Specialists Chapter from identifying and working on some of their biggest workplace problems right now. More than half the chapter completed the bargaining survey earlier this year and identified some key issues that they would like to see addressed. The chapter realized that many of the key issues could be worked on in other ways besides bargaining.

Led by Chapter Vice Preisdent Danielle Harris, the chapter had several meetings this spring to discuss priorities and approaches, and narrowed the issues down to Telecommuting and Hiring Inequities.  Both of these workgroups have several members that volunteered to be on them, and a chapter officer to help guide the process.

The first workgroup, Telecommuting, led by Danielle, has a workplan to identify what the various departments are, or aren’t, doing to implement the new negotiated city-wide telecommuting program ( Soon, chapter members will be getting a survey asking about their telecommuting application and experience.  The goal is to dramatically increase departmental approval for telecommuting to conform with the DHR policy that “…department heads are strongly encouraged to make telecommuting available to all eligible employees in their departments to the extent possible.”

The second workgroup, Hiring Inequities, led by chapter Secretary Audrey Desmuke, is gearing up for its first meeting. The goal is to look at issues around the hiring process, like transparency in rotational opportunities and promotions.  As Audrey noted, “though many parts of the hiring process are not subject to bargaining or our MOU, that doesn’t mean that members can’t work with Civil Service and the departments to improve the process and the flow of information.”